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National Library of Scotland 

'B0001 94043* 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

National Library of Scotland 





Ear v ^^^l 



\I! . Crooke. 




a flfeemoir 






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A word of gratitude must be said to those who have 
helped me to write these pages of remembrance. 

I owe much to our brother, Lord Archibald Camp- 
bell, not only for the encouragement he gave me, 
but also from what I learned when I saw him in the 
islands. He, with her, has lived for and amongst 
the people. In their love for him, in his perfect 
understanding of themselves and their homes, I 
have seen the working of the selfsame spirit that 
wrought so mightily in her. 

Lady Mary Glyn has preserved a series of letters 
which show how, through the changing years, no 
shadow of change touched the love she bore for 
those of her name and race. The second generation, 
in her niece, Mrs. Edgar Dugdale, has given a page 
of recollections which is stamped with the vivid 
lines of a true and loving picture. 

Counsel, which has not failed from the first to the 
last written word, I have had from her " London 
Bishop," the Rev. Archibald Fleming ; without his 


supervision I must have completely failed in my 

Mr. Ritchie, of Iona, has given the Celtic design 
on the cover of the book. He, in a friendship of 
a lifetime, knows the inner meaning of the galley, 
the symbol of her happy voyages over Life's tem- 
pestuous sea. Miss Lee Richmond, whose beautiful 
photographs of Iona are known to every pilgrim to 
the shrine of St. Columba, has given the picture of 
the window where Lady Victoria made her sacrifice 
of prayer and praise. 

The photograph of herself in the buckboard, 
speaking to the two ministers, has been given to me 
by Mr. Isaac Cowie, who took it when he was 
visiting Tiree as a deputy of the Foreign Mission 

The letters preserved by Mrs. Macdiarmid give 
the thread of the island story in words which are 
instinct with her life and purpose. 

There are others, and one especially I name in 
my heart, for without his strengthening aid I could 
never have had the courage to attempt, in a time of 
special personal sorrow, this work of Remembrance. 

To those I name, and to the many who have given 
me her written words or told of some deed of love 
and toilsome adventure ; to those who have given 
me tidings of her journey ings oft, of her organised 
work, or who by some familiar quotation have re- 


called the dominant, vital character, the happy 
laughter, the spirit of sympathy — to one and all I 
offer the gratitude of a full heart. 

They who love her with an undying remembrance 
and bless the days that were brightened by her 
coming, these are they to whom I turn, confident of 
forgiveness for all the shortcomings of these pages. 
They alone know how the " deep dawn behind the 
tomb " hides from earthly sense the radiant life that 
was given to her friends. 

"As sometimes in a dead man's face, 
To those that watch it, more and more 
A likeness, hardly seen before, 
Comes out — to some one of his race. 

" So dearest, now thy brows are cold, 
We see thee what thou art, and know 
Thy likeness to the wise below, 
Thy kindred with the great of old. 

" But there is more than I can see, 
And what I see I leave unsaid, 
Nor speak it, knowing Death has made 
His darkness beautiful with thee." 

F. B. 










HOME FOR GOOD . . . . .59 


"PASTORS AND MASTERS" . . . . .88 






"and they wakbn'd the men op the wild tiree" 154 

"the fair havens" ..... 200 

"ethica" . . . . . . .237 


nighean an diuc ...... 274 




Lady Victoria Campbell (1895) 


Argyll Lodge 

Elizabeth Campion 
Elizabeth King . 



Lady Victoria Campbell (1869) 

Lady Victoria Campbell (1871) 



Lady Emma McNeill 


Elizabeth, Duchess of Argyll (1868) 

. 64 

Lady Victoria Campbell (1885) 

Iona Cathedral, Window, South Transept 



Elizabeth Knowles 

. 160 



George, 8th Duke of Argyll, k.t., k.g. . . 192 

Cross of Elizabeth, Duchess of Argyll, Iona . 224 

Iona Cathedral ...... 224 

Cottages in Tiree ..... 256 

Island House ...... 288 

Scarinish Harbour .... 288 

The Rev. Dugald Maclean, Rev. T. S. Macpherson, 
Lady Victoria Campbell in her Buckboard, and 

John Mackinnon ..... 336 



" Oh, the garden I remember 
In the gay and sunny spring." 

Victoria Campbell, the third daughter and eighth 
child of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, was born 
in London on May 22nd, 1854. The house where her 
parents were living at that time was in Carlton House 
Terrace. Argyll Lodge, the London home of the 
family, had only just been purchased and was not yet 
ready for occupation ; but very soon after this further 
addition to the already large family, the new home- 
stead was entered and became a centre of life and 
interest to a wide circle of friends and relatives. It 
was a year of deep anxiety at home and abroad. 
The Crimean War had begun, and the Duke records 
" how the final order to launch our comparatively 
small army of some 30,000 men on the shores of the 
greatest military country in the world was a trans- 
action in which the closing formalities make a deep 
impression. The final reading of the draft despatch 
directing Lord Raglan to employ the Army in an 
attack on the Russians in the Crimea came after a 
Cabinet dinner held at Lord John Russell's house in 
Richmond Park." It was near midnight when the 


momentous meeting broke up, and the Duke records 
his pleasure as he escaped into the sweet and calm 
air of a glorious summer night. He offered Mr. 
Gladstone a drive home in his open carriage. " It 
was midsummer, and the air was full of the smell 
of all the blossoms that made sweet the whole 
air of suburban London at that season of the year." 
In those anxious hours, he must have thought with 
a sense of peace of the home into which he was just 
about to enter with the little daughter to whom 
Argyll Lodge was to mean so much throughout her 

In the Duke's autobiography he tells the tale of 
its purchase: "Just at that time (1853) we heard 
that a villa on Campden Hill, which had long been 
well known in London as the residence of the 
Dowager Duchess of Bedford, was for sale. It had 
four acres of land about it, beautifully planted, 
and two very old oaks in the grounds would 
have done no discredit to any ancient chase in 
England. It was next to Holland Park, and abso- 
lutely removed from all noise of traffic. We went to 
see it, and the first thing I saw out of the late Duke 
of Bedford's room was a fine lawn covered with 
starlings, hunting for grubs and insects in their very 
peculiar fashion ; moreover, there were other birds 
in abundance. To my amazement I saw nuthatches 
moving over the trees as if they were in some deep 
English woodland. Flycatchers and warblers were 
also visible to my accustomed eye. There were 
objections ; distance was to be considered. But 


the birds settled everything. All doubts and diffi- 
culties vanished before the rummaging of the starlings, 
the darting of the flycatchers, and the agile climbing 
of the nuthatches. Under such stimulus from birds 
it seemed quite a subordinate consideration that the 
lawn would be perfect for the children, and perfect 
too for breakfast parties. I returned to town, 
and instructed my agent at once to purchase Bedford 

Soon after the christening of Lady Victoria the 
family moved to Campden Hill, and the life there 
was begun which was only to end with the death 
of the Duke in 1900, when the house passed back 
into the hands of Sir Walter Phillimore. 

In 1854 Dr. Cumming, of Crown Court Church, 
was at the height of his great fame. His was then the 
principal church representing in London the Church of 
Scotland. The Disruption had carried with it the 
church built in Regent Square for Edward Irving 
and the other Scottish churches. 

If Dr. Cumming was wrong in his confident prophecy 
and advice to the Government, and tradition says he 
was one of those who fortified the deluded Lord 
Advocate with the prediction that " only a very few 
would come out," he at least kept Crown Court firmly 
attached to the National Church; and when St. 
George's, in Edinburgh, with other large churches 
left vacant by the Disruption, gave him a call to 
come and strengthen the things which remained, he 
refused to leave the church and the flock which 
followed his ministry in London. 


At that date his preaching was free of the interpreta- 
tion of prophecy to which he devoted so much of 
his thought in the later years of his long ministry. 
The Duke attended Crown Court Church, and Dr. 
Cumming baptized several members of the family. 
Queen Victoria desired the Duke to call his daughter 
by her name, and Dr. Cumming administered the 
rite of baptism. 

There was a family legend that the child screamed 
so loudly and insistently, that her father impatiently 
ordered her to be removed from the room before the 
christening took place. No doubt she was hastily 
removed after its administration, and before the 
close of the service. It was a great joke to Lady 
Victoria, especially as the record in the registry 
could never be found for her inspection. In one of 
the last years of her life she sent Mr. Macrae, the 
minister of Crown Court, an inkstand made from 
Iona marble, requesting him to use it for the proper 
registration of the infants baptized by him, and she 
used to say that the matter should be made certain, 
and she should receive, " conditional " baptism, 
though the day was far spent. 

At Argyll Lodge her infant years were passed, and 
the circumstances of her life made it a place of more 
constant residence for her than for the rest of the 
family. Like her father, she dearly loved the home 
of her childhood, and in later years especially 
delighted in its peaceful surroundings. 

Secluded Campden Hill remains even now, but in 
the early fifties, from the upper windows of these 


villas set on this pleasant height, the eye ranged over 
many a wide grass-field, now filled by busy streets. 
The Crystal Palace, recently re-erected, glittered on 
the southern heights of Sydenham; but then, as 
to-day, south and west, " grey Sussex fading into 
blue," bounded the far-distant view. 

The roar of London broke on the ear at a more 
remote distance, and the children grew up amongst the 
trees and on the spacious lawn, where there was suffi- 
cient pasturage for a cow kept specially for the benefit 
of the nursery. The glowing flower-garden, planted 
in the Italian style, lay to the west of the house, gay 
in summer with its bedded-out plants, and bounded 
by the great forest trees of Holland Park, divided 
only by Nightingale Lane from the gardens of the 

For many years a time-gun was fired at midnight 
from Holland Park, and its boom was listened to with 
awe by the inhabitants of the nursery. The suscep- 
tible nerves of a more modern generation put an end 
to this salute, but a chiming clock of peculiar sweet- 
ness of tone still warns the natives of Kensington 
that time has carried away the generations which 
have grown up under its silvery notes. The clock was 
an early instructor in the habit of complete and 
perfect punctuality which was so marked a feature 
in the daily life of Lady Victoria. 

The Lodge was, and still is, a haunt of ancient 
peace, of a character hard to find now within a much 
wider radius of London. Home lands are made by the 
fives lived in them. The Lodge was no mere place 


in which to sleep, and from which to rush in an un- 
ending round of social engagements. It was the 
centre where the Duke lived surrounded by his 
family, and where he carried on all his work, literary 
and public, and the spreading trees and wide verandah 
gave shade and air to his colleagues and friends, who 
sought the society of himself and the Duchess. 

From those social gatherings the children were never 
excluded. They were brought up in the best of all 
schools, with a hearing ear to the conversation of the 
men and women who were filling the stage of life, 
and working in their day and generation. 

One of the Duke's greatest pleasures in becoming a 
resident of Campden Hill was to find himself a 
neighbour of Lord Macaulay. He lived at Holly 
Lodge, and the elder members of the family recall 
his student walk to and fro in his verandah, and his 
frequent arrivals to sit under the horse-chestnut tree 
on the lawn at Argyll Lodge. 

One of the sisters had been out purchasing a birth- 
day present for a brother, and came rushing down 
the green slope to announce that the chosen volume 
was the then new " Macaulay 's Lays." Seeing him 
seated in the circle, the narrator came to an abrupt 
pause. " That is right, my dear," was his quick 
comment, " never praise an author to his face." 
Macaulay was not to be a neighbour for long, and in 
a few short years the chilling tidings crept across the 
sunny lawns that the great historian, whose fore- 
bears had been ministers in the Argyll country, 
had been found dead in his library. 


The next comers to Holly Lodge changed its name 
into Airlie Lodge, and another Scottish family came 
into residence. 

The boy, who long years after was to die as Lord 
Airlie on Diamond Hill, as gallant a soldier as ever 
breathed, even in that race to which he belonged, 
asked in some natural anxiety whether the neighbour- 
hood of the two families meant that Argyll would 
again " burn down the bonnie house of Airlie," to 
which they had just arrived. 

It is a picture easy to recall, though the day and its 
tender grace has fled. The air less smoke-laden 
than to-day, and heavy with the scent of lilac and 
may. The groups of men and women of illustrious 
mind and bearing gathered on Sunday afternoons 
in the shadow and shine of the grassy slopes. The 
syringa bushes, and Madonna lilies in long lines in 
the flower garden, and the sound of the gardeners 
with their scythes in the dewy mornings. The nursery 
and schoolroom full to overflowing, and the garden 
ringing with the call of the birds and the play of the 
children. A fair beginning to life's pilgrimage, 
and a place of happy memories to look back upon 
when the road became less smooth and the way more 

Lady Victoria was a particularly sturdy, active 
child, and can be remembered by her companions 
as moving incessantly and running about with great 
energy till she was in about her fifth year, and then 
the story of her future can be told in a few words 
which her mother wrote to Lady Emma Campbell : 


" Poor Victoria has a very strange attack of rheu- 
matism, without fever. She is completely disabled, 
and cannot move her legs. Dr. Allan says it is not at 
all uncommon, and thinks she will be quite well in 
two or three weeks, at most. In other ways she 
seems quite well. She does not mind being stationary 
as much as most children would." There follows a 
later letter where the diagnosis was more accurate : 
" We went with Victoria to Brodie. I think it is 
very much the same view as Simpson's. He has 
seen many worse cases recover, and many of non- 
recovery. He calls it, as Simpson did, Infantile 
Paralysis. He thinks the gouty element has to do 
with it — not scarlet fever. Blistering would have 
been of no use. He recommends very small doses 
of mercury and rubbing, but it is clearly a case 
where man can do little." 

From that time till her fourteenth year her life 
was bounded by the efforts to treat successfully the 
condition of complete lameness in which the attack 
had left her. The treatment was always slow, 
and necessitated her being near the various exponents 
of the cures. Liverpool, Brighton, and London 
were the places in which she had to live, and she was 
often separated for many months from the rest of the 
family. There was much suffering, very literally, 
at the hands of many physicians, and one surgical 
operation, which in the light of modern knowledge 
would never have been performed, rendered a com- 
plete cure hopeless. 

The most successful and longest treatment, ex- 


tending over some fifteen years, was used by Dr. 
Roth, of London and Brighton, and Lady Victoria 
always said she owed much to his "cure," and to 
his unwearying efforts to fit her with the mechanical 
instruments which afterwards aided so materially 
the activities of her life. Much less would have been 
accomplished had it not been for the conscientious 
energy, which even from childhood she put into 
following the tedious course of exercises and treat- 
ment prescribed. 

One of her sisters was associated with her in later 
years, and was placed under the same physician 
for another form of lameness. She recalls the con- 
tinuous efforts, often very exhausting, to carry out 
the directions and use the gymnastic movements 
prescribed, and how on the return home Lady 
Victoria would go back to the schoolroom, willing 
to apply her mind to study, in a way her companion 
had no intention of imitating, although she had not 
worked as hard as her sister in the gymnasium. 

Dr. Roth substituted sticks for the crutches, on 
which the child moved with extraordinary rapidity. 
At one time there seemed a prospect that she might 
be able to walk with only one stick, but it needed 
patience, and would always have been slower, and 
finding she could move more quickly with two, 
Lady Victoria abandoned the attempt, and learned 
to use with equal speed the sticks which were to be 
such veritable pilgrim's staffs through her life. 

Her lameness was a heavy cross to a spirit so 
energetic and impatient, and few who encountered 


her sunny acceptance of her disabilities realised how 
much she had to learn in the great school of patience, 
or how much suffering was involved in the constant 
double exertion all movement cost her. 

Fortunately, the disablement came early, and 
became a second nature, but it never ceased to be a 
conscious trial ; one she rarely spoke of as a thorn 
in the flesh, but it was one, and she could never forget 
the difficulties which encompassed her. 

Her couch became to her the place where she 
learned the deepest and highest converse with the 
life unseen, and in the heights and depths her spirit 
found rest and peace. She understood what her 
cross, so gallantly borne, had brought into her own 
life, an experience which made her a guide and help 
to others. 

To many the thought of her is associated with the 
figure prone on the sofa, so alert in face and 
action, and her cheery voice going out in welcome ; 
and only since she has gone have they fully realised 
that that couch had become to her and to those who 
gathered round her bright, sympathetic presence, a 
place which might indeed be called " Bethel." 

As a child, she was encouraged as far as possible to 
live the life of the family at Inveraray. She joined 
her sisters in their rides. It required courage in 
those who sent her forth, strapped into a Spanish 
saddle on the back of one of those island ponies she 
was to know more about in her future life. She 
was as fearless a rider of the horse as of the ocean 
waves, and her steed was always pushed well to the 


front in the scampering party from the school- 

Later on, she drove a pair of grey cobs in a four- 
seated pony - carriage. Driving herself was one of 
her greatest pleasures. She had a light hand and a 
strong arm, and she and her horses were soon on 
terms of understanding. After she had this inde- 
pendent mode of conveyance, she used to plan her 
drives so as to stop at as many cottages as she was 
able, and they were never complete if she had not 
visited some old friend or taken the needful to the sick. 
A less successful vehicle was a small goat-carriage, 
drawn by two goats. It was always difficult to say 
when the goats were doing their best, or when jibbing 
from obstinacy. The family were too inclined to be 
merciful to the beasts, and insisted, to the disgust 
of the coachman, that the splinter-bar should be 
padded so that the goats' hindquarters would not 
be inconvenienced when, instead of pulling, they 
sat down and contemplated the road they should be 
trotting along. 

" Blackberry/' the donkey, belonged to a still 
later day, but he and a series of small ponies were 
great allies of Lady Victoria's, when her riding days 
were done, and her visits through the town demanded 
some smaller form of conveyance than the carriage 
drawn by the beautiful greys called after the islands, 
" Largie " and " Sanda." 

It was a long struggle to gain back even a measure 
of activity, but the happy, buoyant nature, with 
the keen vitality of youth, carried her through the 


years till she was fourteen, when a great change passed 
over her. She lived the life appointed by her con- 
ditions as fully as it could be lived. As one of a 
large family, and perhaps getting as such too little 
individual attention, on the other hand she did 
not suffer from being considered an invalid. The 
memory glances back on the child with the thick 
golden hair and the sunny smile being wheeled 
about, or carried in the arms of those surrounding 
her, or racing home on the back of the pony, the 
leader of those who were reluctantly returning to 
less pleasant occupations. 

She had a strong resemblance to both sides of the 
family. The maid who was wheeling her along the 
parade at Brighton saw two ladies in evident argu- 
ment concerning her charge. At last they approached 
and inquired if she was not a relative of Harriet, 
Duchess of Sutherland, and when they were told 
that she was a granddaughter, they said that the 
carriage of the head had enabled them to identify 
the' child and be certain of her descent. 

Her love of home life was always marked, and 
probably the frequent absences necessitated by the 
medical treatment enhanced the joy with which she 
returned to the society of her parents, and the large 
circle of brothers and sisters who from the earliest 
days loved to see her in their midst. 



" We were gentle among you, even as a nurse 
cherisheth her children." 

The biographer of Archbishop Tait records what he 
owed to his old nurse, Betty Morton. Dr. Davidson 
says : " It is surely a fact worth noticing that three 
at least among the leading public men of our genera- 
tion, Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Lawrence, and Arch- 
bishop Tait, have each of them, in recalling the main 
influences which contributed to mould their lives, 
assigned a foremost place to the nurse of their early 
years. And, as Lord Lawrence's biographer has said, 
" there are few ties more sacred and indissoluble than 
those which unite the younger, ay, and the elder, 
members of a family to an old and trusted nurse." 

There are many families who, reading such words 
as these, or Robert Louis Stevenson's dedicatory lines 
to Alison Cunninghame : 

" For all you pitied, all you bore, 
In sad and happy days of yore : 
My second mother, my first wife, 
The angel of my infant life," 

recall at once what such lives of unselfish love and 
self-sacrificing service have been in their own time, 



and they form a beautiful background in their 
remembrance of early childhood. 

The Argyll children were especially fortunate in 
being surrounded by a household whose lives had 
been spent in the family service, in some instances 
for more than one generation. 

Elizabeth Campion was the family nurse for over 
twenty years. She was a woman of a striking appear- 
ance. Her clean-cut, pale features were framed by 
two curls, secured by combs which projected from a 
close fitting cap, which she was rarely seen without. 
She always wore, when dressed for the afternoon, 
a black silk gown, secured by a solid gold brooch, 
the pin of which effectually helped her charges to 
obey the admonishing word, " Not to untidy me, 
there's a dear." Within loose, hanging sleeves, she 
wore close-fitting ones of snowy lawn, and in this 
costume, which to nursery eyes was part of their 
"Nana," she would escort the children, one in her 
arms, and a troop around the ample spread of her 
skirts, downstairs to regions outside the nursery. 

Her rule was a despotic one, and her numerous 
nurserymaids did not find their posts a sinecure. 
The standard set them was high and strenuous, and 
" my girls " were not allowed much repose, nor was 
any amusement countenanced. The servants she 
trained are scattered far and wide, but in homes of 
their own many of them have remembered the 
unswerving integrity and deep devotion of the mother- 
heart, which was given so, entirely to the children 
of her affection. 


The ailing and suffering among the nurslings 
can recall the sleepless hours soothed by her vigil 
and ministration. Bishop Ken's evening hymn her 
lullaby, and the sound of her voice breaking the 
feverish unrest of pain, her kindly arms the pro- 
tection from the terrors of the night. 

Failing eyesight obliged her to retire before the 
birth of the last and twelfth member of the family ; 
a bitter and lasting grief to herself and the children 
who loved her with the love which was the only 
compensation she ever cared for. The remainder of 
her life was spent in a house as near Argyll Lodge 
as was possible, and on a route where she was sure 
of seeing some members of the family pass the window 
in which she was always keeping watch. Her long 
life ended in 1878, leaving the children of her love 
a memory time has not dimmed, and one which is held 
in grateful remembrance. 

The interests of these retainers were so entirely one 
with the interests of the family in which they lived 
and loved, that service passed into the closest friend- 
ship and community of intercourse. 

The conditions of service were not those of to-day. 
Wages had not reached the standard to which they 
have now attained. Holidays and days out were 
few and far between. Looking back, it is difficult to 
recall a single instance of a prolonged holiday, unless 
there was some urgent call of sickness or distress 
in their own families. The unrest and love of change 
of the present day, these unsettled conditions have 
all altered the life of the homestead, but assuredly 


those who have not the remembrance of households 
passing their days with the family have lost a rich 

The oldest of the household friends was Elizabeth 
King, whose life was entirely spent on the Argyll 
estates, and in the service of three generations 
of the family. 

She was the daughter of the estate carpenter, 
John King, a member of a family of the old Scottish 
type. A rigid Calvinist, and a man who might have 
sat to Sir Walter Scott for his character of Davie 
Deans. Lizzie was brought up under the strictest 
discipline, and the creed of her home was the simple 
one of " Fear God, and honour the Duke." She 
entered the service of George, sixth Duke of Argyll, 
in the Castle at Rosneath. His brother, Lord John 
Campbell, lived then in Ardencaple Castle, the two 
houses standing on opposite sides of the Gareloch. 
As Lord John's two sons John and George grew up, 
they were often across the loch, shooting on the 
Rosneath estate, and having a " piece " in the 
Castle, where the young caretaker looked after their 
wants. On the death of Duke George, Lord John 
Campbell succeeded to the title, and his son Lord 
Lome, having married Lady Elizabeth Leveson- 
Gower, the daughter of the Duke of Sutherland, 
the Castle at Rosneath was given them for their 

A short biographical notice of the life of this de- 
voted friend and servant was written many years ago 
for the pages of " Life and Work/' Lady Victoria 


put together some notes of her own recollections in 
order to aid the writer. They have now a double 
interest, as she was one of the group of children to 
whom she alludes, and they gather into her own 
the recollections of her father the Duke. The tie 
between these two friends was a peculiar one. It 
extended over the lifetime of both, and in years they 
were not far apart. Lizzie, the vigilant caretaker of 
the Castle, when she was under twenty, was the same 
personality to the end. " Maister George," the slight 
lad with the red-gold hair, walking up from the boat, 
gun in hand, as he landed for his day's shooting, 
had the same individuality to the close of his life. 
Happiest when out and about, the student of God's 
" fair creation " ; living a life austere in its sim- 
plicity, and seeking no other amusement or variety, 
save in those brought to him by the changing seasons 
and the book of Nature. 

His life was to be cast in " the Parliament of man," 
in the tumult of the great City, in the stress of political 
conflict. It was not the world of his inner life, and he 
was always yearning to be apart in the peace of Nature. 
It was ever a rest to him when he could leave the 
necessary conditions of his large household and social 
duties, and live the simple life of his early youth. 
" A barefoot lassie, the best waiter," he would say, 
and there was nothing the Duke loved better than to 
find himself under conditions where Elizabeth King 
would both cook and serve the broth, which she alone 
could make, " as none other." That was a time of 
old reminiscences, and the happy jokes the Duke 


would make with her were in amusing contrast to 
the attitude of devotion and awe she had for one 
who had been for all her life the centre of her homage 
and service. 

The notes made by Lady Victoria are placed here, 
practically as they were written. They tell their own 
story and need little explanation. 

" Whatever the advantages the young generation 
may enjoy, and no one doubts there are and will be 
many, it seems pretty certain the ' family piece/ in 
the form of the lifelong friend in domestic service, will 
not be a feature in the households of a future day. 

"The fact that more than one society offers a 
reward for the benefit of young women who retain 
their situations for three years points to this change 
in modern life. 

" The half amused, half scornful smile which played 
on the face of one of these old servants, as she heard 
the terms of this reward, would amuse my readers 
as much as it did me. 

"Lizzie King was a part of her master's earliest 
recollections, and naturally his children never knew 
a time when ' Kingie ' was not part of their lives. 

" The Duke used to say that the old woman, who was 
housekeeper to the last in his service, was ' exactly 
the same ' in outward appearance, as when a girl 
she would open the door of Rosneath Castle to him 
and his elder brother, when they came across the loch 
for a day's shooting in the woods. 

"It is difficult to describe her appearance. To us 
she seemed so much a part of our fives. I recall the 


puzzled), half vexed feeling when my father remarked, 
' Kingie was not good looking.' The shock was so 
great as to evoke a burst of laughter, as he called on 
my artistic sense to describe in her anything of 
* beauty/ 

" Well ! It was true her eyes were small and brown, 
and her short sight obliged her to use spectacles, in 
which we said she slept. The framework of the face 
was wide, and her complexion was a dead white, 
and in early youth her hair was probably auburn. 

" She had a refined, sensitive mouth and good teeth. 
(I believe they were false ; if so, they grew as I remem- 
ber them !) No one can deny the trim form, the quick, 
light step. She had the most perfect tact, ever ready 
for speech or silence, and her smile was one of the most 
gracious and sunny that ever broke over the face of 
woman, and yet how stern she could be ! Brought 
up under the rigid Calvinistic roof of her father, 
John King, one could hear the echoes of his voice, 
and trace the look of determination in his eye, as his 
daughter gave the account of bitter tears being shed 
by her, because of her wish and his refusal to allow 
her, at the age of fifteen, to enter the Ardencaple 
household as nursery maid to the wee Maister George. 
' Na, Na, Lizzie, it is a hoosefu' of strange servants, 
ye maun wait till ye are older/ 

"And so it came to pass, Lizzie's service began a 
very few years after this in the old house, under the 
eye of that father who daily inspected every beam, 
door, and chimney, and taught his daughter the 
meaning of faithful service. 


" It was against all rules Lizzie King should thus be 
housekeeper at such a tender age, and before she had 
duly served in all the mysterious grades which con- 
stitute the well-ordered life of a large household. 
Yet, what other title could be given her ? Her 
apprenticeship was perfect for the simple reason 
Old John King was the one general superintendent. 
Woe unto Lizzie if boards were not kept as clean as 
might suffice for serving a meal, or if ever a spider 
wove its web in any corner, however remote ! A 
girl was hired to keep her company and help in the 
work. She had board wages of seven shillings and 
sixpence a week, and that was sufficient for the 
porridge and milk, the broth, and the eggs which 
were her fare, and out of that ' abundance ' she was 
always supplying something for the wants of others. 

" In 1847 the ' Maister George,' of Kingie's would-be 
nursery days, succeeded his father. 

" Probably, it was at this date that anything like 
formal recognition of Lizzie's position became neces- 
sary. For two years Rosneath Castle had been the 
home of the Marquis of Lome, and his young wife 
had won the loving reverence hitherto bestowed 
on ' George and Emma Campbell,' but still it was 
a moot question, one that no one cared to solve, as 
to which of the households she belonged. 

"Lizzie made her decision promptly. Whether the 
touch of Highland blood in this daughter of a cove- 
nanting house enabled her to foresee that the Dowager 
Duchess would in a few years' time join the Church 
of Rome, it is hard to say. If she did have a pre- 


vision, there was no question as to her remaining in 
such service. The Argylls who identified them- 
selves with Rome had no existence for Elizabeth 
King ! To her there was only one ' great Marquis/ 
and one ' testifying Earl/ They had laid their heads 
on the scaffold, and for Christ's Crown and Covenant, 
no one doubted that if called upon, this daughter 
of the Covenant would also have faced cheerfully 
stake or gallows. 

" The grace of toleration or Christian charity had 
lagged behind in Kingie's education, and long years 
after, when the children repeated something akin to 
bitterness from the lips of their beloved old woman, 
the mother said gravely : * Perhaps better not talk 
to Kingie of Roman Catholics/ To be strictly just, 
we must hint that on this occasion Kingie's wrath 
had broken out on the question of some of her 
Duke's rights being interfered with, which led her to 
express a doubt whether she could go through the 
ceremony of wearing mourning for one who had not 
put her master's claims in the first rank for considera- 
tion. I can recall my father's quiet smile as he 
listened to his children's tales of the caustic remarks, 
and my mother's reproof ; while he, silent and 
absorbed, divided his time between his public work 
and watching by the death-bed of the Dowager 
Duchess, who had been associated with his boyhood 
since he was seven years old. He received her last 
directions and her dying blessing, for, however they 
had differed in outward forms, they had met at the 
end, in the ties of family life, and of conduct not 


only dutiful but instinct with a wide and beautiful 

" The most vivid recollection I have of Kingie is 
when she took charge of a separated group of children 
at the time when scarlet fever had come among the 
large family, and the head nurse was shut off with the 
wee ones. How she would flit in and out, and, 
helped by the trained nurse, supply all our wants ! 

"Then came days of convalescence, when a pet 
lamb was brought in, to play with the boy and girl 
who were on their feet. If anything could have 
worn out the strong matting of long ago, it might 
have been done then in the races which were run 
with this lamb, which entered into all our fun in a 
way I cannot understand now, looking at sheep and 
lambs, chiefly in island fields. 

" Those were also days of discipline ! To go to the 
housekeeper's room for tea was the height of happi- 
ness, and only to be enjoyed after a course of good 

" There came a day when the brother was shut into 
some upper room, so dark had been the crime. 
The sister, fourteen months junior, got hold of the 
nature of the sin, not of its depth ! She presented 
herself in front of the two reddish white curls, and 
spectacled face, and she pleaded : ' It was a very 
little one, Kingie ! ' ' Na, na, dearie, there are 
no little ones, they are a' big ones.' ' Well then, 
Kingie, he is very sorry.' ' Then he must come 
and tell me so himself ; but I canna have him to-day. 
He is a naughtie, naughtie boy.' 


" Those were days when nerves were not studied, 
nor spoken of as they are now, yet how lovingly did 
this woman study temperament ! I remember the 
terror one of us had at a big white bulldog, whose 
special delight it was to howl over our fat little 
forms. A bright idea occurred to Kingie. If the 
dog could belong to one of the most frightened ? 

" ' How much is it, Kingie ? I have threepence/ 

" ' No, it must be fourpence ! ' 

" Her brother, hearing this, and looking with com- 
passion on the bankrupt little maiden, produced the 
other penny. The price thus paid, the damsel 
believed that Fanny must hereafter give more respect 
to her mistress, and they lived in greater comfort 

" In the succeeding years a black ' Fanny ' replaced 
the white. A splendid Newfoundland, who let the 
whole nursery sit upon her at once, and for the 
delight of her playfellows, produced at intervals a lot 
of ' photographs/ as Kingie called the litter of pups, 
when she brought them up to the nursery to be 
claimed, named, and beribboned by the children. 
There was a sigh of relief deep down in the heart of 
the small maiden who had purchased the first Fanny, 
although she did not enjoy exclusive ownership in 
this last arrival. 

"Which of us does not remember the little 
figure in the dark blue cotton print, the cap- 
strings fluttering in the salt morning and evening 
breeze. 'Away down to the cottage/ carrying some 
dainty to the old mother who spent a long eventide 


in the cottage by the loch. The same figure coming 
down to the gravel point, to stuff peppermints into 
the mouths of children, on whom the orthodox dip 
had been practised; or, best of all, was the sight of 
those fluttering ensigns of welcome, when the barge, 
rowed by the estate servants, came across from 
Helensburgh, bringing weary travellers from the 

" With the arrival of the Lady Lome, a new claim 
was made on Lizzie's warm heart. No one under- 
stood her better than my mother. She realised 
she had in the young ' caretaker ' a woman who 
was not only a clever, reliable servant, but one fitted 
to be what she was through all her long life, the 
intimate friend of herself and her children. She 
knew all the family affairs. She knew, and what was 
more, shared with deepest sympathy most of the 
hopes and fears and difficulties which must surround 
the lives of twelve children, from their parents' 
point of view. She knew many secrets, and when 
the news became public property, none ever guessed 
from her manner that she knew all that was to be 
known before the rest of the world. 

" What Lizzie was to her master and mistress, that 
she was to their children. Faithful in service, she 
insisted that servants and children should be equally 
faithful. Her manner was a fine mixture of the 
deepest respect, with a gift of racy and terse ex- 
pression. She knew well when to take opportunity 
by the hand, and her tact was never at fault. We 
can all recall her entrance into the drawing-room at 


some moment when she knew she would be welcome, 
and beside my mother's chair she would make her 
requests known : tell of the new ideas of work 
and wage entertained by the modern ' girls/ 
usually making excuses for their weakness, smoothing 
over the difficulties, and never leaving without 
having won by her gentle firmness all that was 
necessary for the household economy. 

" What a home she made it for these servant girls ! 
In 1863, during the distress in the cotton trade, one 
of the Lancashire ' hands ' came into service in the 
nursery. She found a mother in Miss King, and 
long after her companions had returned to the mills 
she remained in the service of the family. 

" From 1868 till the year of her death Miss King 
left Rosneath, and moved with the household both to 
Inveraray and London. ' Where thou dwellest, I 
will dwell/ was her creed, and if she often longed 
for the peaceful setting of her early life, within the 
circle of the hills, she did her work, and was the 
same clever administrator in the stir of a London 
house as she had been in the large empty castle by 
the Gareloch. In London she attended the only church 
she could attend at that date, the English Presby- 
terian, and sat under a nephew of Edward Irving's, 
the Rev. Gavin Carlyle. The Scottish maids under 
her, and many another she knew of gathered round 
her in the church, where they met in a common 

" It would be untrue to say ' Kingie ' had no faults. 
It may be guessed from the foregoing that there was 


a certain hardness in her nature, and its iron rigidity- 
was not softened by her creed. Her early youth had 
been passed amid the now dead controversies associ- 
ated with the names of Edward Irving, Campbell of 
Row, and Story of Rosneath she had been taught to 
dread. The sough of ' unsound doctrine ' which 
had ebbed and flowed round the waters of the Gare- 
loch, a fear that the terrors of the law had not 
been sufficiently preached or held, spread a chilling 
bane on that unique spirit. 

" It had all passed away ere the end ! The lessons 
of the gospel of love were learnt by her at a later date, 
when in suffering weakness she heard the message 
once rejected as unsound from the pastor of 
another nation. When the message of love and for- 
giveness to all men in our Saviour Jesus Christ came 
at length to her, it was received with all the fervour 
of her strong nature, and came as ' good cheer/ 
She learnt if the theology was of a gentler mould, 
it was none the less faithful because it recognised 
' Justice and Mercy ' had met in Him who died 
for all. One of her last sentences was gratitude to 
the dear Duke for sending her a little book which bore 
on this subject. ' That he should have sent it/ she 
exclaimed, alluding to his well-known reserve." 

These notes have been given in their entirety, 
because the life of this remarkable woman had a 
profound effect on Lady Victoria's own career. 

When the Duchess's health grew infirm, Queen 
Victoria used to come and see her at Argyll Lodge. 
The visit was usually in the afternoon, and Miss 


King's scones were a part of the tea the Queen 
would not have missed. No one loved old servants 
better than the Queen, especially if they were Scottish, 
and Her Majesty always asked to see Miss King. 
On one occasion the Queen desired her to come to 
Buckingham Palace, to initiate the stillroom there 
in all the mysteries which go to make the true scone. 

On the appointed day Miss King appeared ready 
to set forth, armed with her girdle, her roller and her 
bunch of feathers. The English butler, himself a 
servant of over twenty years, though that to Miss 
King seemed but as one day, remonstrated, and told 
her that the Palace stillroom would probably possess 
these important implements. " And what kind of a 
girdle may I find there ? " replied the veteran 
scone-maker, refusing to be parted from the materials 
which would enable her to carry out the royal 

Miss King had to suffer much before the end. She 
was stricken with malignant disease, and after untold 
suffering, concealed as long as possible, and heroically 
borne, those who were watching around her knew 
that release was near at hand. She expressed a 
strong wish to die at Rosneath, if possible ; if not, 
that it might be on Scottish soil. Sir Prescott 
Hewitt, who was attending her, said that removal 
was impossible. 

The Duke was careful to satisfy her slightest 
wish, and to one of his daughters he said, " She 
shall have her choice, if you tell her the truth." 
The task was made easy. " I know, dearie, but I 


cannot die out of Scotland." " Only as far as the 
train can take you," the Duke said, and accompanied 
by the doctor living then with the family, and all 
that could ease the terrible journey, she was carried 
out of Argyll Lodge. Her last look and her last word 
were for her master, as he stood to see the servant 
and friend of his lifetime carried from his door. 

Lady Emma McNeill, the Duke's sister, had 
found a suitable house in Edinburgh for her last days. 
It stood in Canaan Lane, looking out on the Braid 
hills, and there on July 5th, 1875, tended by Lady 
Emma and those she loved, the faithful servant 
passed to her rest. 

The children of the Argyll family felt themselves 
bereft not only of one whose door stood ever open, 
but also of one on whose sympathy they could 
reckon. They knew well the old home could never 
be the same again. The cloud which the first great 
bereavement brings had settled down, only to be 
pierced by the light which broke on her dying face 
when the remembrance of her beloved Duke and 
Duchess and of her bairns was told to her. To one 
of these bairns, privileged to be with her to the 
last, the smile which lit up the stern features, as she 
said her Saviour was with her, bore a message of 
assurance which no book of Christian evidences 
could ever give, and no subsequent mist of doubt ever 
efface. Her body rests in the Grange cemetery, " till 
the day breaks and the shadows flee away." 

In a letter dated two days before Miss King's 
death, the Duchess writes to Lady Victoria : " All 


this expectation of the end is very sad for you, but 
I am sure you will be glad to have made the most 
of these last hours of her life, and been a comfort to her. 
The return to Inveraray and she away is very sad, 
and she would be surprised, poor dear woman, if she 
knew how much she is missed, after thinking latterly 
she did so little. You may tell her that, whether ill 
or well, I feel it a blessing to have her in our house, 
and am thankful for it." 

" Thankful for it " is the true note, for in the com- 
panionship with this friend of her early childhood, 
Lady Victoria first learnt the ministry of sympathy, 
and first encountered in another some of the doubts 
and perplexities which were encompassing herself. 

Many and deep were the waters through which both 
of them had to pass before their warfare was accom- 
plished, and the heart of the elder woman was opened 
to one who had early learnt the mystery brooding 
over life and death. 

The difficulties and darkness of spirit which had 
to be encountered produced on Lady Victoria's own 
life a profound impression which was never effaced. 
She sought counsel with one who could meet the 
difficulties of the Calvinist doctrines, and she found 
in the ministry of Dr. Adolph Saphir, personal 
and public, a help which came not alone into the 
life of her friend, but was a light on her own path. 
Much of the inspiration of her future work was 
learnt in a double companionship at the suffering 
bedside of her father's old servant. The date of her 
death was one she always kept in special re- 


membrance, and when thirty-six years later she 
herself entered into all light, the call came to her 
the day following that anniversary, and in the 
same " Holy City," as it was her wont to call 



" And unto God the Lord from death the 
issues do belong." 

Cannes, Dec. 8th, 1882. 

Was much refreshed on the way by a fortnight 
in Edinburgh, where we saw much and closely of 
people, and once more one had the feeling of that 
place being very near to God. Much, of course, 
lies in association with me, but on the eve of 
many changes in our family life the answer, " Thy 
vows are upon me, God," seemed to go up. So 
may it be. 

Oct. 27th, 1884. 

Thy vows are upon me, God. This is the day 
when of all others this remembrance of vows is 
incumbent upon me. The day I was brought to 
Edinburgh, as was then thought, a dying child. 

Oct. 27th, 28th, 1888. 

The anniversary of the day I was brought, as 
many thought, to die. Twenty years since, in fear 
and perplexity, I vowed my life to God. It surely 
is no accident that I felt last night and to-day as 



if the difficulty was to believe in the forgiveness of 
sins. What a wilderness wandering I have to look 
back upon ! What rebellings, what murmurs, 
what hard thoughts of God ! How is it that I have 
felt the sin of all this so little ? 

As the anniversaries came round, in words such as 
these Lady Victoria commemorates the severe 
illness which brought her to the very gates of death. 
It was a time when, in a manner which seemed to 
the watchers almost miraculous, she returned to life, 
and, knowing as she did the seriousness of her illness, 
she felt that life was given back to her for some 
special purpose. With the slow return of bodily 
strength, she passed through a mental and spiritual 
experience which changed her outlook as completely 
as her illness and recovery altered the material 
conditions of her days. New influences came to her : 
much seed was sown in a soil which was ready to 
return a hundredfold, and from that great and solemn 
time she dated a new life and a dedication of herself, 
" body, soul, and spirit/' in a new and consecrated 

Lady Victoria spent the autumn of 1868 with the 
family at Inveraray. There was an intermission in 
the treatment which necessitated her residence in 
the south, and she was again united with the school- 
room party in all the so-called work, and thoroughly 
enjoyed outdoor life. 

She had learnt to move about on her sticks with 
great rapidity, and her room was always the centre 

'* mr ^ 


of the fun and mischief that was going on in the 
family circle. Her sense of the ludicrous was always 
keen, the best tonic for all her life, and it was at 
its height in those days, and she led many a wild 
" causerie " with her heart-whole laughter. The 
schoolroom, after being presided over by a series 
of foreign potentates, was at this time ruled, or not 
ruled, by a lady as remarkable for her learning as 
she was for personal appearance and precise methods 
of speech. 

Miss Georgina Johnstone was one of a family of 
five sisters, who were at that time living in Brighton. 

She was a great friend of Sir Charles and Lady Lyell, 
and the latter informed the Duke of Argyll that Miss 
Johnstone was desirous of obtaining the post of 
governess. The family possessed independent means, 
and there had been no intention of any of the members 
taking to professional work. The desire, however, 
to- assist in the education of some nephews made 
the two youngest of the Misses Johnstone seek for 
suitable employment, and in 1864 Miss Georgina 
became the friend of the wide family circle, and the 
instructor of the unstudious team she had to manage 
in the schoolroom. 

Miss Johnstone's impression of the first sight of 
her pupils was often recorded in their hearing, but 
unfortunately was never placed upon paper. Some 
of the family were at Brighton visiting their sister, 
having swimming lessons, and enjoying donkey rides 
on the downs. 

" Georgina " entered into the sitting-room of the 


lodging house to find a number of girls with a bewil- 
deringly close personal resemblance, and with a rap- 
idity of speech and action which rather daunted the 
staid, deliberate little lady, who found herself looking 
somewhat timidly at those who were to come under 
her not very dominant personality. Especially was 
she impressed with the speed with which all 
writing was accomplished, and she took what she 
afterwards found was a very superficial view of the 
abilities of her future pupils. 

For thirteen years she lived in the various " Studies " 
and remained to the last somewhat of a puzzle, 
but always appreciated by every member of the 
schoolroom. She spoke English in the most approved 
Johnson-ese, and was deeply learned, and entirely 
self-taught. She possessed the most insatiable 
craving for knowledge, and when she had exhausted 
every continental language she began both Gaelic 
and Sanscrit in the last years of her residence. She 
learnt astronomy from the minister at Inveraray, 
and her ardent pursuit of fungi during the " consti- 
tutionals " was one of the joys of the schoolroom 
walk. To be late in the return to lessons, and to 
bring back as a peace-offering something that might 
for a moment be considered a new species of fungus, 
was a great inducement to keep the scientific eye 

Miss Johnstone's father had been an officer in the 
army under William IV, and he had then retired 
to a small Staffordshire property to get rid of his 
patrimony in amateur farming. 


The family were intensely English, and had been 
reared in provincial life. No opportunities were 
offered to the young women to cultivate the very 
remarkable brains possessed in a large measure by 
all of them, and Miss Georgina's attainments were all 
the more notable for the manner in which they 
had been acquired. Late in life, she was to be found 
in the small hours of the morning kneeling at the 
table of the schoolroom, in order that she might keep 
herself awake in the pursuit of knowledge. 

It all seemed a little abnormal to her very un- 
studious pupils, especially as with the gift of instruct- 
ing herself there came no aptitude at imparting 
knowledge. The teacher in the parish school could 
have instructed in a more effective way, but he could 
not have given the cultured atmosphere which 
hung around this learned lady. The lessons she set 
were rarely learnt, for her pupils had not the retentive 
memory of their governess. Brought up a high Tory, 
and a strict member of the Church of England, 
before it had been transfused by the Oxford move- 
ment, she never used a Prayer Book, and could repeat 
the whole service, including the singing of the Psalms, 
from memory. 

Looking back, it is possible to believe that the mind 
of the scholar had strayed into the doubts and diffi- 
culties of the critical spirit of the age. If so, she 
honourably kept the understanding that religious 
matters were outside the sphere of her labours, and, 
Church of England as she was from the crown of her 
head to the soles of her feet, she always attended the 


parish church when in Scotland, occasionally going 
off alone to the service held in the Scottish Episcopal 

Her pupils owed much to the rare intelligence and 
interest which she brought to bear on all passing 
events. The reading aloud to her of Macaulay's 
" History of England " would usually result in a long 
discussion on the matter treated of by the historian, 
and the talk would be drawn to the politics of the day. 
Her loyalty and her political convictions must have 
been severely strained at the time of the disestablish- 
ment of the Irish Church. Politically, she abhorred 
Mr. Gladstone and his works ; but personally she was 
amusingly under the sway of his courteous manners 
and his gratitude when, as occasionally happened, 
he dined at Argyll Lodge, and she was ready with some 
needed bit of information in the after-dinner dis- 

" My dears, our lesson has been sadly neglected ; 
we must hope, though, that our conversation has 
not been altogether unprofitable," had very often 
to be said at the close of the lesson hours, when the 
scholars had discussed a debate in the House of 
Lords, or the oncoming of the Franco-German War 
instead of doing Colenso's Arithmetic, or practising 
scales on the monumental piano. 

The schoolrooms rise to memory ! The London one, 
under the roof, and baked in the summer heats, 
till an adjournment to the garden was rendered almost 
imperative. " A sadly distracted and inattentive 
day," was too often the evening report on such 


occasions. The tables, with their various occupants, 
characteristically idle or conscientiously working, and 
one figure on the sofa, who was never known to shirk 
the daily round. The coveted seat in the window, 
where the lawn with its hosts and guests were under 
inspection, or at Inveraray, where from the study 
window the eye fell on a vision of many waters, 
encircled by hills whose outlines are more indelibly 
imprinted on the tablets of memory than the lessons 
which were, or were not, committed to its care. 

The short lesson hours over, there came the school- 
room tea, often added to by an incursion of the 
brothers and guests, attracted by the bursts of 
conversation and the laughter of the very livery 
party. The light of " long ago " streams in at the 
window of that room and falls on the sunny heads ; 
the table set with scones and gooseberries, and very 
literally presiding at its head the small, prim figure 
of the well-known Miss Johnstone. Her pupils, 
struck with the intensely English ideas of their 
governess, early christened her " Pock Pudding." 
In spite of the gravest efforts of the seniors, the name 
rapidly became fixed to the first part of the title, 
and soon every member of the family, and those 
" without," were familiar with and used this un- 
melodious nickname. The Duke found in her a 
valuable helper in correcting for the press the proof 
sheets of " The Reign of Law." Many an enlightening 
argument as to style and punctuation, and the exact 
definition of a scientific fact, was carried on over the 
luncheon table, to the amusement of Mr. Strahan, 


the publisher, who was often present, and to the 
edification of all who heard the choice language of 
the critic and corrector. 

Naturally, she felt that her pupils were lost in the 
swamps of unfathomable ignorance ! She herself 
wrote a beautiful, " correct " handwriting. Two of 
her pupils at least wrote in a hand which she charac- 
terised "as not becoming in a grocer's boy." Long 
years after, one of the said pupils heard her taking 
modest credit for the excellence of the same writing 
which had met with her just criticism. That pupil 
she had destined for a farmer's wife. " F. can never 
be kept out of the company of the stables and byre." 
When another fate overtook the most unlearned and 
troublesome of her scholars, and she was the welcome 
guest in a home not altogether uncultured, again she 
ventured to remind those she found there " that 
dear F. had been a pupil of her own." 

Hers was the student life, and that her lore was kept 
from the dryasdust type was largely due to the 
world of youth under her gentle sway, and held to her 
by a very human sympathy. " She had been young," 
and her youth was marred by disappointments in 
health and hopes. Best of all, she had a saving and 
rich sense of humour, and a temperament naturally 
inclined to the morbid was redeemed by a keen 
appreciation of the fun which was to be found in 
conditions most unpromising for that element. She 
and her pupils relieved many a trying situation by 
convulsions of ill-concealed mirth. 

Lady Victoria had few opportunities of direct 


teaching from Miss Johnstone. When at last, after 
her serious illness, she remained at home her school- 
room days were drawing to a close. A warm friend- 
ship existed, however, between the two, who were not 
by nature intended to understand each other. In 
Miss Georgina's sisters, and notably in Miss Susan, 
who temporarily replaced her for one winter at 
Inveraray, she was to find much comfort and com- 

In 1904, sixteen years after leaving the family, 
Miss Johnstone writes to her : " The approaching 
22nd shall not come and go without bringing you a 
few loving lines from me. If there is one memory 
stronger than another concerning my first weeks at 
Argyll Lodge, it is the mental impression of you 
seated on the floor to ' put the ladybirds to bed/ on 
that May 22nd, 1865. Through all the years that have 
passed since then you have been safely led by the 
Faithful Promiser. The Pillar of Cloud has sheltered 
you under the heat of work and conflict, the Pillar 
of Fire has led you in the dark night of sorrow and 
travail, and sometimes you have been permitted to 
rest by the waters of palmy Elim. Throughout all 
these years you have been sustained by the Ever- 
lasting Arms. May His Presence ever go up with 
you, and give you rest through this wilderness world, 
and hereafter everlasting joy in the heavenly 

Earlier in her life, the elder sister in the home at 
Brighton writes : "I cannot tell you how often I 
think of you and the work in life which (as it seems 


to me) your Heavenly Father has laid out for you. 
Very quiet, unobtrusive work, but very high and holy ; 
— the gentle, loving influence which shall comfort 
and help all around you, and in doing which your own 
soul will be brought into nearer communion with 
your loving Saviour. He will help and comfort you 
while He makes you a comfort to others." 

The last of this band of sisters, with their gentle 
piety, their quiet home, their interest in the two 
adventurous members of their family, " Pock and 
Susie/' had all passed away before Lady Victoria's 
death. In the brilliant pages of Miss Thorneycroft 
Fowler's " Isabel Carnaby " a portrait of Miss 
Georgina's personality and manner of speech may be 

It would be hard to reconstruct the early Victorian 
characters, the refinement, the talents, and, in the 
one instance, the rare gifts of mind, which were 
found among them. Their interests were closely woven 
in with the faiml/ which brought so much colour 
and life into their own quietly ordered lives, and their 
influence and home were among the things which 
contributed to Lady Victoria's happiness when a child 
at Brighton. 

It was in the midst of this happy home life at 
Inveraray that Lady Victoria contracted the severe 
illness which so nearly cost her her life. Hitherto, 
she had been peculiarly healthy, considering the 
restraints of her disablement, and nothing more 
serious than the usual maladies of childhood had 
troubled her. During the autumn of 1868 she 


showed signs of grave illness, and no treatment 
arrested the mischief, the cause of which was not 
properly diagnosed. 

It would serve no purpose to revive the memories, 
or recall the sufferings through which she passed. 
The malady grew daily worse, the symptoms more 
distressing, and the medical skill was at fault to relieve/ 
or to cure. It is sufficient to say that the symptoms 
were treated as, and believed to be, of an acute 
gastric nature, while the real cause of the disease was 
a severe abscess in the lung. 

The Duchess was at the time much engrossed by 
the last illness of her mother, Harriet, Duchess of 
Sutherland, and she did not take the alarm which 
was felt from the first by Lady Emma Campbell, 
who was that autumn, according to her usual custom, 
staying at the Castle. 

Lady Emma Campbell, the younger and only 
surviving sister of the Duke of Argvll, had always 
been closely associated with the family life, and she 
loved her nephews and nieces with the most complete 
devotion. After the death of her father, she made her 
home in Edinburgh, and it was soon the centre of 
much work and many interests. 

In appearance Lady Emma was not like her 
brother. She had brown hair, and her face, with 
its beaming smile and large blue eyes, closely re-*' 
sembled her mother, Joan Glassell. Lady Emma 
never had very strong health, and her energies 
were, at an early age limited by a strength which 
never bore being overtasked. 


In the Disruption of 1843 she was one of those who 
" came out," and she upheld the cause of the Free 
Church of Scotland with singular fervour and zeal. 

It was a great disappointment to her that the Duke, 
having sympathised and understood the case for the 
Free Church, had withdrawn himself from the party 
when he saw that schism was inevitable. He has 
left it on record that the controversy made him 
retire for the rest of his life from Church Courts and 
their politics, as far as was possible. This was not 
the case with Lady Emma. She threw in her lot 
with the Disruption leaders, and urged them forward 
with all the ardour of her brave and truth-loving 
spirit. The bitterness which was unfortunately the 
distinguishing mark of that unhappy controversy 
was not absent from the attitude Lady Emma took 
towards the National Church, and those who re- 
mained within its walls. She was essentially a 
fighter for the truth as she saw it, and her zeal swept 
her vehement spirit into many sayings and actions 
which seemed at the time extreme, and are, like so 
many other extinct volcanoes, difficult to reconstruct 
amid the cold ashes of a day that is dead. 

It says much *or the warm and generous love which 
was the keynote of her character, that these ecclesi- 
astical controversies never separated her from her 
brother and his wife. If the^ could not see eye to eye 
they agreed to differ, and the Duchess had a wide 
tolerance and a deep, trustful love for Lady Emma. 

Half the year was spent by her with the family at 
Rosneath or Inveraray. Special rooms were always 


ready for her, and a morning visit to this beloved 
aunt is among the memories of the golden age. The 
early sunshine lighting up the turret where she sat. 
The eager, bright smile at the approach of the 
children, " Goldie Locks " and " Wee Wifey " their 
titles. The little ones played with her china parrots, 
and a wondrous crystal scent-bottle with four 
stoppers. On Sunday the picture Bible, and the 
teaching of the Scottish paraphrases. To the elder 
ones she was confidante and companion, and her home 
in Edinburgh was the lodging-place of the brothers, 
pursuing their studies at school and university. 

There is no doubt that the Free Church carried 
with it and created in its midst a spirit of Evangelical 
fervour, lacking in the Church of Scotland at the 
time. Lady Emma sought the ministry of Dr. 
Candlish and Dr. Guthrie and other " lights," and 
in their teaching found rest and the life of service 
to which she devoted her time. In a letter written 
near the end of her life to Lady Victoria, she reviews 
the past in these words : — 

July llth, 1879. • 

You dear small woman thinking of me. Yes, 
I have had heavy hours there, but also much com- 
fort, specially one season, when about twenty, 
and many weeks in those two rooms. I dreaded 
almost to leave them. But the place is terribly 
dead — and forgive me for saying, specially the 
Established Church — for what was most living 
had to leave it, and the worst of the division to me 


was the feeling that those who remained were 
shunted out of the current of Evangelical life and 

Oh ! if I could tell you how intensely I echoed 
in my heart Prepensed strong expression yesterday : 
" II faut que les Eglises d'Etat perissent afin que 
FEvangile triomphe." Mark you — as Eglises d'Etat. 
That is simply that they be set free from bands and 
ties that hinder and hamper and divide from 

But patience — each where we are have to seek a 
present God, and seek to be a means of blessing. 
I have looked out of that turret window and 
longed to see a field-preaching in the field beyond 
the river. Suppose we pray for that ? Why not 
agree to do it, if it be His will, or He may send 
the blessing another way. 

To you I say — Be strong and of a good courage, 
and believe in God. Believe in His Son. Believe 
in the Holy Ghost, not only as a creed, but in 
life. He knows all — can do all. Look at the three- 
fold blessing (Num. vi. 24). 

I have been revelling in Dr. Buchanan's " Life." 
It stirs me as a trumpet might an old horse. 
There is pain too, not small, mixed up with it, 
but I am thankful to have lived through these 

I wish people would ponder the fact that the 
conditions of membership in Church and citizenship 
in State was essentially different. I am involun- 
tarily a subject and citizen. 


In the Church I must enrol myself voluntarily, 
and enter on a quite new circle of duties, and 
privileges with which no man can meddle, unless 
in the prosecution of them I hurt or injure my 
neighbour. If the Church as a body, that is, the 
believing Christians associated together, are to be 
Christ's witnesses and servants, they must take 
heed to be free and disentangled, and out of free 
and willing gifts Christ's service should be upheld. 
" The Lord loveth a cheerful giver." 

In these words the vehement spirit looks back with 
the calmer insight that the years had brought her. 

It is possible to wonder whether the Disruption 
would ever have taken place had the Church of 
Scotland been at the time a living and progressive 
force. A decade before it had " slain the prophets," 
in the persecution of Edward Irving and Camp- 
bell of Row. Had its own life died out in the effort 
to silence Truth, and had its members to sutler from 
all the sin of schism in order to find Evangelistic 
fervour ? 

There were more forces of upheaval at work than 
those which met the eye, and the blind folly of the 
Government was but the instrument in letting loose a 
spirit which was to quicken and leaven both Churches. 

The Pope and the ministers of the Established 
Church were alike anathema to Lady Emma, and it 
was amusing to watch the conflict between the 
unquenchable and fiery zeal of the sectarian and that 
same ardent spirit in its works of warm-hearted love 


and sympathy towards all the brethren of mankind. 
The poor were with her always, and her presence in 
their homes was a ray of pure sunlight. After Lady 
Emma's marriage to Sir John McNeill, she had a 
property at Liberton and a villa at Cannes. There are 
still many who recall the picture of her in her garden 
cutting the flowers with unsparing hand, and sending 
her guests of every degree away laden with blossoms 
and fruit. " Take these, and come back for more ; 
they are the better for being cut." The voice so 
cheery in its sincerity and transparent truthfulness, 
and her words musical with the purest and pleasantest 
of Scottish accents. 

The words spoken by Mr. Dodds after the death of 
Lady Emma in 1893 complete the picture of this 
woman so greatly beloved by a large circle of friends 
and kindred : — 

"The Free Church has not been distinguished by 
being able to point to many names of the Scottish 
nobility upon her roll, but those of them whose 
names have been written there have been very 
noble. Their fame has been in all the Churches, for 
amongst them have been many whose lofty record 
of character and sacrifice makes them the truest 
types of Christian heroism. 

" One of these — the last that death has removed — 
Lady Emma McNeill, widow of Sir John McNeill 
and sister of the Duke of Argyll, is eminently worthy 
of the place she occupies in the list of Disruption 
worthies commemorated in D. 0. Hill's well-known 


picture. From its day of small things to the present 
year of its jubilee, she was ever one of the faithfullest 
members of the Church, and herself one of the best 
types of religious character which it has produced. 
Few loved and trusted the Church as she did. She 
had seen enough of its history to believe that as it 
began under the influence of the highest ideal of 
loyalty to Christ, so along the lines of its present 
development will be found the solution of many a 
question, social and ecclesiastical. She had gladly 
borne her part in its earthly struggle, and ever since 
considered it a privilege rather than an obligation to 
share in its enterprise. In a life that had inherited 
so much from the past, and that was in contact with 
all that was best in the Scottish Church, it would be 
difficult to find any one chief moulding influence ; 
but it is interesting to remember how it was her 
delight to talk of Dr. Candlish and the early days of 
St. George's, evidently under the feeling that she 
owed much to that distinguished man. 

" In the days of her youth and strength — like many 
of the noblest of that time — she was full of that 
enthusiasm for the churchless crowds which Dr. 
Chalmers inaugurated, and was a prominent figure 
in the beginning of that now signally successful 
territorial experiment the Pleasance Free Church. 
The graceful tribute paid to her memory from that 
pulpit by the devoted pastor the day after her funeral 
showed how the early devotion of such a lady to 
Christ's cause amongst the poor still lingers as an 
inspiring memory. In the later years of her fife, 


when weak health made a personal share in such 
activities impossible, her means and influence were 
most generously at the disposal of every good cause 
which came under her notice. 

" Possessed of great gifts of mind and heart, like so 
many of the members of the ancient and noble house 
to which she belonged, she kept close watch on the 
theological movements within the Church, reading 
the literature of modern questions in various Euro- 
pean languages ; and while conservative in her own 
theological views, she had the fullest sympathy with 
every earnest attempt of accredited scholars to set 
the old faith in a better light. In matters of worship, 
too, whilst having her own preference for what 
was simple — for her whole manner of life was simple 
— yet her natural generosity of disposition made her 
ever ready to adjust herself, in matters non-essential, 
to the prevalent need ; and she was ever ready to 
adopt, even to her own discomfort, anything which 
could be shown to be likely to make the Church a 
more effective weapon to influence the greatest 
number to a new or fuller interest in Christ. si sic 
omnes ! 

" But of all that she was the Church at large, and 
the congregations at Cannes and at Liberton in par- 
ticular, were deprived with startling suddenness. 
Those present at the close of our Jubilee Assembly 
will remember the fitting reference in the Modera- 
tor's prayer at the opening of the evening sederunt 
to the loss which the morning of a day bright with 
much promise had brought to the Church. It was 




the more sad when one remembers that during the 
weeks immediately preceding, her health had been 
much better than usual, and that she was looking 
forward eagerly to her home-coming and residence 
in a newly purchased villa at Liberton, which during 
the winter, when she had been at Cannes, had under- 
gone enlargement and alteration. 

" Her death has removed a name and an influence 
from amongst us which in many ways was a very 
great gift to our Church ; and while it creates a loss 
that is felt widely, to the congregations with which 
she was connected it is more than loss. Those who 
knew her feel to-day that it will not be easy to know 
again any one of such rank and such gifts, and at 
the same time with such humility and simplicity of 
character, as were the marks of that noble lady 
whose place is now empty, and who while with us 
in the days and years that were, made faith easier 
by her life, and work more joyous by her sympathy." 

Lady Emma had suffered too much from ailing 
health not to be very conscious of all its signals in 
others. What was wrong with Lady Victoria she 
did not know, but she was certain that the illness 
was of the gravest character, and neither she nor the 
devoted maid who was in charge were satisfied with 
the treatment, or the persistent optimism which 
maintained nothing serious was amiss. 

The sketch which has been given of Lady Emma 
will have been very incomplete, unless it has shewn 
how fully one she was with all the family. 


" Coveting one's neighbours' daughters is as wrong 
as coveting anything else," she wrote in after years 
to Lady Victoria, when desirous of her presence and 
feeling there were other calls on her time. Her 
nieces were to her as her very own children, and 
she had the full confidence of their parents. 

It was resolved to move the invalid to Lady 
Emma's house in Edinburgh, and there to place her 
under the care of Sir James Simpson. 

The journey was done by posting, crossing the 
high pass to Loch Lomond, by the road with the 
stone bearing the inscription to " Rest and be 
Thankful," down to Balloch, where the train hastened 
and eased the weary journey. 

On the road they learnt the death of the Dowager 
Duchess of Sutherland, and Lady Emma felt that 
another and yet nearer loss was at hand for the 
Duchess, who had kept so long a vigil by the bedside 
of her mother. 

Lady Emma's house was then in St. Cuthbert's 
Street, since renamed Torphichan Street, and the 
house to which Lady Victoria was taken " a suffering 
child to die " is now a nursing home. Very gravely 
ill did the beloved physician find the child of his 
friends, and he at once called in the aid of Dr. Halliday 
Douglas. For long there seemed to be little hope, 
the mischief was so extensive, and nature seemed 
exhausted. Probably the worst danger was over, 
and the discharge from the abscess, which had been 
taken for gastric trouble, had really been complete, 
and the poison had ceased to undermine the constitu- 


tion. If this was so, and no operation was attempted 
or performed, it showed a very remarkable constitu- 
tional healthiness. 

What watching and ceaseless care could give was 
hers. Dr. Halliday Douglas had the daily and almost 
hourly charge of the patient, and what his deep skill 
and knowledge could bring to the case was freely 
given. He was not only her doctor, but her friend. 
He early perceived the remarkable character and the 
reserve of vitality in the young girl under his charge, 
and he ministered as successfully to the mind as to 
the body. 

In October, 1889, Dr. Douglas writes to his old 
patient : " Is it twenty-one years ago that we met ! 
How shall I thank God that I retain your loving 
confidence. As time runs out, I value more than ever 
your friendly regard, and your pleasant memories 
of the past. I trust you did receive the blessing 
yesterday that wonderful Ordinance conveys. I 
wish you had been with us and received the help 
to Communion my simple ardent friend gave from 
the transfiguration, and the mount where it occurred 
— so simple — so true — so earnest. But if your soul 
has been fed, that is all." 

On the anniversary of her birthday, Dr. Douglas 
writes : "It never returns without calling forth 
my sincere and earnest interest in your welfare and 
happiness. I seek for you a growing aptitude in the 
methods of the divine grace, of growing enjoyment 
of the Word, as the Revealer of God in Christ, and a 
growing joy in serving and enduring." 


In 1895 the physician had lost none of his affection 
for his old patient, but he had lost his understanding 
of the indomitable courage and vitality which made 
Lady Victoria "a law unto herself" in matters of 
health. Neither perhaps could any doctor resident 
in Edinburgh understand the healing and reviving 
power that the West has for its own children of the 
mists and waves. 

" Well ! Of your plans. I am not very happy at 
the prospect of the winter in the Islands ; but your 
London doctor of whom you write so pleasantly 
should know. 

" For your own dear sake, and for many friends 
you will take care. Beware of distant journeys 
involving late or stormy returns home, and where 
you cannot get comfortable up-putting — and you 
know how that is (or is not) to be got in Tiree. I 
would rather have you near us at Mentone, or see 
you comfortably settled in your ancestral home at 
Inveraray. Wherever you go the Master will find 
work for you ; oh, that I had some felt fitness for 
service, but I find there is a service that is not 

The advice and admonition must have amused 
Lady Victoria, as her returns home were always late, 
and nearly always stormy, and her " resting-places " 
were often so in name, but not in fact. 

That, however, is part of a history which this 
memoir has not yet reached, and the story must go 
back to the room " where in her breast the wave of 
life kept ebbing to and fro." 


The Duke and Duchess returned to Edinburgh, 
and the family were at different times summoned 
to see the last of their sister. Even on January 10th, 
1869, Dr. John Brown, " Rab and His Friends," as he 
was usually styled, wrote to his friend the Duchess : — 

I hear from Lady Emma that your dear child 
is gently fading — to bloom lovelier than ever in the 
Paradise of God. This is sad, but it is less sad 
than not. I hope you and the rest of yours are all 
well. May The Almighty Father watch over you 
and them, and keep you as He has, hitherto, so 
divinely done, from the temptations of earthly 
greatness, and intellectual powers and reach. 

Slowly, and to the watchers, as it seemed, almost 
miraculously, the life was given back, and the 
wonderful constitution began to gain ground, and 
recovery very slowly but surely set in. It was an 
uphill climb, and the exhausted nature told on the 
buoyant spirit. The sense of her crippled condi- 
tion seemed first to have dawned on her as she 
again faced life. 

There was also the realisation of another burden, 
not that of the flesh, " fightings and fears within, 
without," and the hill Difficulty was very steep to the 
young pilgrim. The necessary aid came to her, 
but the battle against principalities and powers 
lasted longer than the struggle of Nature. 

" Dec. 23rd, 1880. Twelve years ago to-day," she 
writes in a diary, " Dr. Guthrie paid me his first 


sick-room visit." It was not the last, and by degrees 
light came out of darkness. What Lady Emma was 
to her in these days it is impossible to say. She de- 
voted her whole time and thought to the room in her 
house where the weary fight was being maintained 
for so long without any hope of seeing a recovery, and 
she was only desirous that the tired mind and body 
might be led by still waters and green pastures. 

When the tide of life returned, Lady Emma was 
unwearied in her efforts to minister to all that could 
amuse and revive the mental condition. There was 
much need of encouragement, and how Lady Emma 
understood the girl who was to be such a comfort 
in her own future life, the following letters will show : — 


My darling bairny, 

I am sure no rough step or bit of your road has 
been without its purpose and its blessing. When 
I began to think you were to live and not die, nine 
years ago, I was sure you had work to do, and you 
may remember my telling you, when you would not 
believe it, that a life of much use and work at home 
might be before you. 

Peculiar training and discipline — if we are taught 
to accept it — is ever for a purpose and one of 
abundant recompense. 


Darling, — The day I left you, as we drove along, 
the two subjects that came to my mind suggested 


by the place — the season and all that has been — 
were : The grass withereth, the flower thereof f adeth, 
and the grace and the fashion of it perisheth. — 
But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. 

And this — " I must work the works of Him that 
sent me, while it is day : the night cometh when no 
man can work." The contrasts between the utter 
insecurity of all here and the Word that is abiding. 
Yesterday, Dr. Guthrie was preaching about the 
things that are shaken and " the things that 
cannot be shaken." You are just learning to 
know by experience a little of the change and the 
pain of it which pursues one so continually. Do 
learn to know and to lean on daily the " Word " 
that is abiding, and Him who is the same yesterday, 
to-day, and for ever. You know, but follow on to 

Cannes, 1874. 

We had a delightful Communion yesterday. 
Mr. Minto alluded to what I think is scarcely 
spoken of enough. The wonderful evidence afforded 
by the institution and continued celebration of 
the Supper of the truth of the Gospel story, for 
no other intelligible explanation can be offered of 
what has been done for eighteen centuries, and if it 
be all most really true do not let us dishonour or 
grieve the Lord by doubts ever renewed, but 
remember His words, " Blessed are they that have 
not seen but have believed." 

In connection with difficulties and difficult 


questions, perhaps you err in, going about for the 
solving of these. Truth is central. It is in Him 
who is the Truth, and to us, He is the faithful and 
true Witness, and to Christians the secret of peace 
and stability is to grow in grace and in the know- 
ledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, because knowing 
Him, considering Him, we learn to trust in Him 
absolutely. He does not here explain all things to 
us, and we consent to wait. I do not believe there 
is any solution of our difficulties possible till we 
are stilled and hushed as in the presence chamber, 
thanks for this ; that God reigneth, and can take 
refuge as Jesus did in this — " Even so, Father ; 
for so it seemeth good in Thy sight." 

Dec. 24th, 1877. Cannes. 

Dearest V. It is a hundred years to-day since 
my father was born. The thought came to me this 
morning with such a feeling how short it all is, 
and then look forward to another hundred years 
and how short the time here will have been, and yet 
how momentous. Depend upon it, " the golden 
haze " gathers in looking back, and then the haze 
was golden in looking on. Now our hope should be 
brighter, not being an instinct, but a hope God- 
given and resting on Him, who is not only true, 
but the Truth. 

I wish you would send me Mr. Saphir's tract. 
It was just the thing to write when he felt low — 
and so it will be not the outflowing of a mere mood, 
but a strong word for those who may be cast down. 


As Dr. Dykes once said about David's word, 
" I will trust and not be afraid." Evidently he 
was afraid, and was setting his face, as he elsewhere 
says, "encouraging himself in the Lord His God"; 
and all lower props and comforts fail. The one is 
enough, never failing, ever sure. 

Cannes, 1880. 

Light has been on the hills of Grasse most of the 
day. Everything is beginning to grow. The heavy 
rain and the warmer air have set the life stirring in 
all the plants, and it is a comfort to see the leaves 
look clean and fresh : they had been so dusty and 
so parched. 

Some anemones are coming up just below our 
window, and one of them the genuine red ; and the 
yellow crocuses are also opening their eyes. 

Oh, dear V., He who reneweth the face of the 
earth each year hath much better in store for 
us, and not withered leaves of the dead past, but 
flowers and fruit, of the life to be, are our portion. 
It is written, we are saved by Hope, and in that 
Hope let us live, so this life, though brief, shall not 
be vain — only the sorrow of it need not crush us. 

Spring had nearly passed into summer before the 
convalescence was assured. The Easter message of 
Risen Life came with new meaning to those who saw 
that health was restored, and the mind and spirit 
were ready to acknowledge the supreme call for a life 
of dedication. 


As this chapter began with Lady Victoria's own 
words, so must it close with words commemorative 
of this season of clear shining after rain. 


" I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies 
of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacri- 
fice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your 
reasonable service." 

Just ten years since in fear, in weakness and 
darkness, I vowed this, then heard it claimed in 
chimes of Love and Peace as being indeed " reason- 
able service," and then the mercies ! How innu- 
merable they are, even now the " knowing here- 
after " has been in a measure granted, and yet I 
know again and again my restless spirit asks 
why ? 



" Oh yet we trust that somehow good 
Will be the final goal of ill, 
To pangs of nature, sins of will, 
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood." 

The summer of 1869 was fully past before Lady 
Victoria was fit to move. It was not thought expe- 
dient that she should return to the activities of the 
family life at Inveraray. A longer period of quiet, 
and a climate less damp than that of the west coast, 
was prescribed for her further recovery. 

Lady Emma took a house at Crieff, and there a 
happy autumn was passed in long drives and walks 
with a pony-chair. Her sister, Lady Evelyn, spent 
the time with her, and the return of strength was 
steadily satisfactory. 

With the approach of winter it was necessary to 
consider where that season should be spent. 

Sunshine and warmth were deemed essential for 
the still delicate lung, and it was decided that Lady 
Emma should take a villa at Cannes, and that she 
and Lady Victoria should go there, and that later 
on two of the sisterhood should join them on the 



It was a wise decision. The change was the more 
complete to Lady Victoria, that she had never been 
abroad, and her love of scenery, and the revelation 
of what sunlight and flowers were in the land of 
" Fair France," all aided and stimulated her complete 
restoration to health. 

For another reason, it was well that she was removed 
from Scotland, for a heavy shadow was hanging over 
the family at home. 

The Duchess had been staying at Alnwick, and re- 
turned alone to Inveraray in the month of December. 
A bitter frost, accompanied by the usual fog in the 
Clyde, disorganised the steamboat service, and the 
Duchess landed late at Lochgoilhead. The carriage 
sent for her returned, believing that she had not been 
able to come, and the Duchess crossed the Pass to 
Loch Fyne in an open carriage. The night was 
intensely cold, and she arrived at the Castle after a 
most trying journey. 

The Duke was detained in London by public 
business, and only the five daughters were at In- 
veraray. The same evening the Duchess had a 
paralytic seizure of great severity, and but for the 
prompt measures taken by Dr. Macdonald, who was 
then the medical officer in the town of Inveraray, 
there would have been no recovery from the critical 
condition of unconsciousness in which she was found 
by one of her children. 

It was a night never to be forgotten by any one of 
those who lived through its wakeful hours. The time 
seemed very long before the Duke could return, or Sir 


James Simpson, hastily summoned from Edinburgh, 
could possibly reach the Castle. 

A recollection abides of the arrival of the great 
physician. He had posted from Balloch, and to 
utilise the long, dark hours he had fixed at the back 
of his carriage two candles, by the light of which he 
had read with complete absorption, totally oblivious 
of the mountains of wax which had freely dropped 
on his massive head with the long, thick, grey hair, 
and on his broad shoulders. 

The family, hastily summoned, gathered from every 
quarter, and for many weeks life hung in the balance. 

The Duchess made a partial recovery, but her 
health from that time to the date of her death was 
a matter of constant watching and anxiety. To Lady 
Emma, hearing the reports at Cannes, and to others 
within the - circle of the home, there came many 
thoughts as to what the future must have in store for 
her children. The remembrance of the life given 
back in so marvellous a manner the winter before, 
rose to every mind, and the words Lady Emma 
wrote to Lady Victoria when the long and anxious 
watch was ended, that her life had been given back 
for some " special purpose," were fulfilled in the 
years that followed this sad calamity. 

After several weeks, the immediate and pressing 
anxiety was relieved, and the sisters, Lady Elizabeth 
and Lady Evelyn, joined the party at Cannes. 

Some of their letters have been preserved, and 
they show how happily and with what restored 
youthful enjoyment Lady Victoria was taking in her 


surroundings, and entering into the life of the new 

Sir John McNeill came to live in Cannes. His 
beautiful presence, and stately, kindly manners, 
made him a great addition to the friends residing 
that winter in Cannes. The young people loved him 
at first sight, and he devised for them many an 
enjoyable picnic and expedition. Their keen eyes 
soon perceived that it was not for their edification only 
that he found so many opportunities of passing his 
time in their company. 

Lady Emma had been an old friend of Lady 
McNeill before her death, when she and Sir John lived 
at Granton. The mind of Lady Emma, engrossed 
with the charge of her nieces, did not as quickly 
perceive the happiness, as great as it was deserved, 
which was coming into her own life. In the secret 
fun and nonsense of the happy party, Lady Emma 
often heard her friend spoken of as " Uncle John," 
and she would bid her wild charges keep their tongues 
in check, and not talk more nonsense than they 
could help. 

The young people were not deceived. When at 
last Lady Emma brought Lady Victoria back to 
her home, Sir John McNeill also returned to London 
and sought an interview with the Duke, who was then 
Secretary of State for India, and in that Office he 
heard news which surprised him more than it did his 
daughters. He had not had all their opportunities, 
but he knew Sir John McNeill both in his distinguished 
life of public service and as a personal friend, and he 


realised that Lady Emma's future happiness was 

Thus was the parting with her " dear bairny " 
made easier, and those who wondered how it was to 
be with her, when bereft of one on whom her mind 
had centred for so long, saw the path made clear 
for all. 

Among the many interests at Cannes during 
that winter were the presence of the then Princess 
Frederick of Prussia and her two young sons, 
Prince William and Prince Henry. They came 
occasionally to the Villa, and Lady Victoria refers 
to their visits in the following letters : — 

Villa Severin, Cannes, Dec. 28th, 1869. 

My dearest Frances, 

Many thanks for your letter ; I got it on 
Christmas Day. I am afraid you will think me 
very lazy about writing, and now it is rather late 
to wish you a happy Christmas, so this letter must 
come in for the New Year. I wish you a very 
happy one. 

It is so nice to hear that dear Mama is so much 
better ; I do hope she will go on all right now. It 
will be very nice having Libby and Evey here. 
I wish you could see this place, it is so beautiful, 
but just now we seem to have got a touch of your 
weather. It has been so cold for three days, and 
there is snow on the Grasse Hills. The chemist 
told Knowles yesterday, when she went to^get 
something, that the Cannes people are quite 


frightened at its being so cold — they are so 
unaccustomed to it. To-day, however, we have 
had a nice sun, and I just took a turn for about 
half an hour. The donkey was quite frisky after 
his three days' rest — kept kicking up his hind legs 
in running, whereupon as usual I rewarded him 
with bread. I am afraid there is not much to tell 
you until to-day ; I have not been out since 
Friday. The birds even look quite astonished at 
this unusual weather, and come knocking against 
the windows. We have put some bread on the 
balcony. Last Saturday Dot went to a Christmas 
tree for the Protestant Sunday School ; they have 
it at two o'clock, because people and the tinies don't 
go out much here after sunset, so they shut the 
shutters and make it quite dark. Mademoiselle 
Penchina helped the French pastor to make things 
for it and to decorate it. 


Many thanks for your letter. I am so sorry to 
hear that Mama is not quite so well, and I am very 
anxious to hear again. Do write very often and 
give us news, because if you don't there is nobody 
else, now Libby and Evey are away, so you and 
Mary will have plenty of use for your pens. 

It has been such a lovely morning here. Dot 
and I have been sitting out on the balcony ; it is so 
unlike January at home. The Dufferins are here 
now, but they are not going to stay long. Coupe, 
the donkey, is very well, in excellent condition. 



I have Lad a good many long walks with Knowles 
lately ; the roads just now are in such a dreadful 
condition. The soil here is very sandy, and when 
it rains the roads are in a state fit neither for man 
nor beast. It is dreadful hard work for the beasts. 
The other day we drove to see the Campbells. 
The little bit of road leading down to their house 
was so bad, that the coachman and horses that they 
hired struck work, and said it was too mudh, as 
they were not very strong beasts, so they have got 
to get another pair. 

What a shame it is, the horses being killed ! 
Why were not Jones' horses used, or, at any rate, 
the Tarbet horses sent on to meet them ? We are 
expecting Lady DufTerin to luncheon. 

It is now half-past nine in the morning, and the 
thermometer outside in the shade is 60°, and the 
flowers are quite lovely. I hope Mama will get the 
box all right that Dot has just sent her by the 
railway ; they won't let them go by the post now. 
I suppose they think as the flowers are becoming 
so plentiful it would become troublesome, as people 
are so fond of sending them, at least they only 
make objections to them to England. They go 
from one part of France to another quite easily. 
People here are very busy getting up picnics. On 
Monday Libby and Dot are invited to a large party 
of Lord Dalhousie's for the Islands. There are a 
good many people going : Mr. Milne, the Scotch 
minister, the Kintores, and the Balfours, and I 


don't know whether there are any others. This 
afternoon we are going in the carriage to join 
Lady Kintore, and then we go on to a country 
road, and Lady Kintore and Dot are to take some 
tea. It is quite a small affair, chiefly to gather 
ferns, there are a good many on that road. Evey 
and I are just going to have a walk ; I am going 
out in the little carriage. I have been a good deal 
on the saddle lately, and have had many beautiful 
views from the hills. Last night we had two 
tremendous peals of thunder, a very odd storm ; 
the lightning was very forked, but there only seemed 
to be two of them. Last Thursday afternoon Dot, 
Libby and I drove to Antibes, and heard the band ; 
it was very pretty. Evey rode the same afternoon 
with Mr. Campbell. Antibes is such an odd- 
looking little fortified town. Coming back we 
had a lovely view of Nice and the Alps, at 
least we could only see a little bit of the Alps, 
because there was a mist over them. Coming 
back, Dot got out and got some tulips. The 
field where she got them from was almost scarlet 
with them. 

(About one o'clock.) We have just come in from 
a walk in time for the rain. I suppose the thunder- 
shower we had last night will break up the weather 
for a day or two. There is such a delicious breeze 
down on the Croisette off the sea. We took little 
Papillion out; he is beginning to follow very 


Are there many snowdrops in the garden still? 
One misses them here. We have not seen one, 
they don't have them. 
Good-bye now. 

Yours very affectionate, 

Victoria Campbell. 

I seem to be in a mood for making mistakes 
to-day in my writing. 

April 22nd, 1870. 

We have had a very nice tea-picnic this after- 
noon with Sir John and the two girls of Mrs. 
Cumming, at least, one is her stepchild. We went 
down to a beautiful place here that turns off from 
the Frejus Road by the river. It is quite lovely, 
and a little fir wood just before one comes to the 
river. Sir John took the courier, who is dreadfully 
fat, so much so, that one of the coachmen, the one 
with the pannier, objected to take him with only one 
horse ; his name is Constantine. He says he was 
abroad with Papa and Mama and Edith at Rome. 
I am not quite sure if it was the last time, or some 
years ago. He made a beautiful fire to boil the 
kettle, and we had a very cosy little tea. I had 
Coupe to meet me there, so I was able to go about ; 
it is such a pretty place. 

We went to the Esterels the other day. One drives 
to a small village called Napoul at the beginning 
of them, where the donkeys meet one, and then you 
ride. It was quite beautiful. The white heather 


there is much later than at Cannes ; it is nearly- 
over now. Yesterday afternoon the two little 
Princes, Princess of Prussia's boys, came with 
their tutor. They are such nice boys, the eldest 
is eleveo, the other seven ; the eldest is very like the 
Queen. They gave us two large eggs (imitation). 
Mine was white, with a robin upon it ; and Evey's 
pink, with some tiny little figures inside. They are 
going to come again some day. 

November, 1869. 

Dot and I had such a beautiful drive up to a 
village near here. The man who drove us had such 
a nice dog, called Marquise ; it was half a Pomera- 
nian, and seemed such a wise beast. He ran along 
by the side of the carriage for a long time, and then 
he took him on the box. It was such fun to see 
the charge he took of^the^horses, which were very 
nice little beasts. 

I have not seen the donkey since Saturday — 
at least, I have seen him, because the girl brought 
him on Monday afternoon, but I was too tired, 
and it had got cold just before this rain came ; so 
we gave him some bread and sent him away, and 
I have not been able to get out since. I expect he 
will be lively when he is used again. I must write 
you a longer letter another day, but now I want 
to write a note to Mary, and then I expect my 
French mistress at four o'clock." 

The return home was in every sense " for good." 


Deep as was her love for her aunt, and deeper still 
her gratitude for all that she had brought to her, 
her spirit craved for the home-lif e and intercourse with 
her parents. What she felt about " the sisterhood " 
is best put in her own words, as she wrote it to one of 
the number. " Nothing in life will ever be so merry 
and jolly as our sisterhood, although none of us 
doubts there is another and better happiness. I often 
think that one does not sufficiently appreciate, so 
long as one is in the midst of it, a life among ourselves 
that, however present anxieties may mar it, has 
always the charm and freshness of a youth that can 
never quite grow old with us." 

She was to be " the solitary in the family." The 
thread of family life was often snapped and woven 
afresh, but through the whole of her life the home had 
the first claim on her heart and remembrance. 

Lady Victoria knew what the parting between her 
and Lady Emma would mean. At times she had had 
doubts whether her duty would not be to remain 
beside her. But now Lady Emma was not to return 
to the life she had led before her niece became her 
first and absorbing care. Another claimed her deep 
and tender affections, and Lady Victoria's love 
" turned again home." 

Sorely was her presence needed. The illness of the 
Duchess had changed many things, and much had to 
be faced. We can trace how these new conditions 
were understood and their meaning grasped. Life 
had been deepened and instructed by the experience 
and discipline of the past. A child in years, she had 


the sense of responsibility of one who had passed 
through much and learned some of the deepest 
lessons of life. There was " much land yet to be 
possessed/' but the spirit had entered into its heritage, 
and all things had become new. 

One other matter had to be faced during this 
period. After her return from Cannes, Lady Victoria, 
when in town, again went through the treatment 
prescribed by Dr. Roth. After two or three years, it 
was necessary to decide whether any further benefit 
was to be gained by its continuance. The exercises 
used were a great tax on the strength, and the 
conditions of the lameness seemed to preclude any 
further improvement. It appeared more useful to 
turn all the ingenuity and perseverance of Dr. Roth 
in the direction of superintending the mechanical 
supports he had already devised for her assistance. 
Dr. RadclifTe, the specialist, who was in constant 
attendance on the Duchess, was consulted, and he 
gave the final decision that nothing more could be 
achieved by pursuing the course of treatment which, 
during the years of growth, had been so beneficial. 

The following letter from the Rev. Dr. Story, of 
Rosneath, was placed by her among her thoughts at 
this time, with a prefix : " Received after Dr. Rad- 
cliffe's decision, I was to discontinue Dr. Roth, and 
glad though I was in one sense, it was a trial to feel 
the door was shut." " I was very happy to hear that 
you were free from the Drs. this season. What a 
relief it must be ! How I wish they could have done 
all for you one would wish to do, dear Lady Victoria, 


and yet I believe that you will see, when the plan of 
your life has been worked out, that the want of that 
has been better for you than the possession of it could 
have been. I did not know that I had been a help 
to you, and what you say about yourself I could not 
read with dry eyes, — partly from the pleasure it gave 
me to hear you say it,— partly from a sense of my own 
unworthiness to have such things said to me, partly 
from the feeling, the strong feeling of regard and 
sympathy I have for you personally, dear Lady 
Victoria. When you speak of your e narrowed life/ 
you do not know how much those that have watched 
even a little of it may have learnt from it, and how it 
may have helped them to understand : 

" ' 'Tis not the grapes of Canaan that repay, 
But the high faith that fails not by the way.' 

These lines always echo in my mind with a deep 
meaning that I daresay you will not comprehend. 
Whether the future is to bring you, or can bring 
you, any enlargement of outward activity or not, I 
am certain your life will always be in a far higher 
sphere, a life full of usefulness and light." 

In 1877 Lady Victoria went with Miss Susan 
Johnstone to Paris, to take advantage of the delicate 
skill in mechanical contrivances, in which the French 
were at that time, at any rate, in advance of the 
English makers. Her difficulties, and those of the 
instrument makers, were not easily overcome, and 
she spent a month in Paris before returning to London. 
Even then Dr. Roth's unwearying patience and 


vigilant eye, as to the means of helping this old and 
creditable patient of his, was not satisfied, and the 
short daily diary kept in this year is full of notes and 
observations on her new " steel." When at last 
completed, it did credit to the ingenuity of her 
friend, Dr. Roth, and to the delicate adjustment of 
the makers. How effectively they assisted her, those 
who remember her activities will understand, but 
though she never flinched from wearing these sup- 
ports, as the aids to her going out and coming in, 
they always meant great fatigue, and rest was only 
complete when " I have my steel off." 

March, 1877. 

Trying to make plans for usefulness, but it seems 
as if it must wait. 

Thinking much over plans for work, but as yet 
unsettled. Resolved on Cripples' Home. Made 
inquiries about Workhouse. 

Went to see a play. Confirmed in dislike of 
them. Paris. Measurement for new steel. Drove 
to see Notre-Dame. Wished for more beauty in 
our churches. Week of much thinking on self 
and prospects. Letter to my father. Feel fresh 

Went to Deaconess Home. Charmed with it. 
Saw Flower Mission. Went to Louvre. 

All day in dressing-gown, expecting Steel people. 
Miss S. went after them. Came at five. Not 
right, taken back. Feel very anxious as to its 


April 21st. London. 

Feel very thankful to be back. Feel in heart for 
work. How much since I left have I cause for 

Went to see Beau Coventry at Mildmay. Think 
the Deaconess House charming. Saw how much 
was required. At the same time, what home scope, 
if faithful. Renewed vows. 

May 22nd. 

Twenty-three to-day. Thoughts of past and 
future life. Mildmay opened my eyes to much. 

Week of realising how much is happily changed 
for me, while feeling what the thing in itself is 
to me. 

There must be no undue emphasis placed on this 
part of her life. She overcame any morbid shrinking 
in herself, and fought her rebellions, and made this 
thorn in the flesh no burden to her friends. On the 
other hand, it would be no true history if there was not 
some account of " the fecht " which had to be fought 
and won. 

Her lameness never caused acute physical suffering, 
but as her mind grew, and the impulse to energetic 
action expanded, so did she realise how heavy was 
her handicap in the race she had to run. Constantly 
her inner meditations turned on the purpose of this 
not light affliction, and her diaries record the " fits 
of wild rebellion," repented of in such deep sincerity 
and truth. 


Only in the full realisation of the trial is it possible 
to understand the dauntless courage which faced all 
difficulties with so unshaken and cheery a front. 

Her medical friends — and she notes in a letter to 
a correspondent, " I feel as if my world had been 
composed of Drs., and I know how tiresome it is " — 
were well accustomed to her humorous demand that 
they should cut off the useless limb. In all the perils 
by land and sea the difficulties of her movements 
were not only made light of, but described with irre- 
sistible humour. 

" If it has got to be done, it can be done/' she 
would say to Knowles, her prop in life, and those who 
understood the particular way to aid and not impede 
her movements by over-caution received the reward 
of her humorously worded praise. 

Nature intended her for a life of vigorous physical 
freedom and exertion. When she returned home, 
Lady Victoria found her mother laid aside from 
much of her usual life. It was natural that the 
daughter, whose disabilities prevented her taking 
part in the amusements of her age and of the society 
to which she belonged, should find herself left the 
guardian and companion of her mother. This was 
the first call on her love and duty in the nine years 
which were to pass before the death of the Duchess. 

A letter, written to the sister who had shared the 
treatment of Dr. Roth with her, and whose disabilities, 
though of a different nature, had brought her into 
close comradeship with her elder sister, may fitly 
close this side of the story of her life. 


May %\st, 1878. Eastbourne. 

My dear old F., 

I do not think I can employ my evening better 
after C. has gone to bed than in writing to my old 
red-hair hackle. I am sitting opposite the sea, 
which is tossed about with white horses, every now 
and then overclouded with wild storms of wind 
and rain, then lit up with a bit of rainbow, while 
little ships ever and anon appear tossing, but 
whiles lit up with a gleam of light. They all serve 
to remind me of one who has tossed on such a sea, 
but on whose sails there is light, although, F., 
I suppose there must be, to a certain extent, 
tossing and fechting until our Captain leads us 
safe into harbour, whereunto He will surely bring 
us if we are keeping under His orders, and are 
waiting on His word of command. 

I know in my own case there are many, many 
tossings which are my own incurring. B., I hope 
you will ask for a blessing on " Martha/' as, doubt- 
less, you will be smiling over her texts to-morrow. 

Twenty-four ! I can hardly believe it. The time 
was, and not long ago, when I used to make it 
my stage (her birthday) to watch the progress of 
my walking powers, begun in old days by maids 
saying, " I hope by the time your next birthday 
comes round you will be able to walk about." 

I hope you are not among those who are deceived 
by my so-called " patience." As I knelt only last 
night in Kingie's room the old longing seemed to 
spring up anew with the mixture you may guess, as 


God does not chide the longing. I felt it was a 
storm which must have its way, but oh, F., how 
ungrateful it is, because even already I have 
traced light out of this very darkness, and can see 
as clear as daylight how much I have needed 
and do need it, and such storms are, I am thankful 
to say, fewer and farther between, and cannot, 
I think, have anything of their old bitterness. 

I tell you this because I know you will understand 
it, and I wish you to know. Although each one 
must fight out his or her own battle, still, there 
are some who can enter more closely into one 
another's struggles, and I suppose it is partly 
this feeling which has wrapped you so much in 
my life. 

Do you suppose it was only because I was tired 
and weakminded, after I saw your golden pow 
disappear down the stair, I felt I must and might 
give way % All the same, I was very glad to see 
you fairly off, and am glad you are doing what you 
know to be useful as well as pleasant. 

Don't waste the time, F. ! Be the sister of 
" Martha " ; nothing like the wish to help other 
people makes one find out how much one requires 


I cannot tell you what your letter has been to 
me to-day. Not difficult to know where " the green 
spot " has been. Sometimes I did feel the awful 
responsibility you were. I was so afraid I might 


be doing harm instead of good, as I daresay I often 
did, bnt I believe God has overruled all for good. 
If you needed the telling, I think you would see 
by my last letter to you what you are to me, and 
I am glad your letter crossed it, because, although 
it is not your nature to speak " fair things," I might 
have had a lurking fear you wished to shower 
comfort on me. Don't be afraid of a too-" Martha " 
spirit just now. These last months have taught me 
much. You have taught me much, and I do know 
how sinfully unbelieving and distrustful I am to 
God. You have been the means of keeping me 
going very, very often, and perhaps you would be 
surprised how much I lean upon you, dear old 
child. Strange you should have that sentence over 
your writing-table, " Our hearts are restless, till 
they rest in Thee." 

Remember, " God will give us the souls, for 
whom we wrestle." " Tho' mercy long delay," 
it is still coming. May God help you to bear and 
wait, and be a blessing to many. 

Last night I sat listening to the soughing of the 
sea, and the whole thing brought back my Liver- 
pool and Brighton days to me, and the still small 
voice heard in the hush of evening seemed to 
reproach my ingratitude. The almost total help- 
lessness of those days, and now I have C. in charge, 
and am well enough to do it, and feel the parents 
do trust me. Such thoughts, as you know from 
my last epistle, were much needed. Many, many 
thanks for that letter of yours. Much as I un- 


deserve it, it has brought its own message. I 
agree with you about " God's Peace." If you 
could compare, as I can, the whole state of things 
from when I first came home for good in 1870, 
you would see how blessedly God has been teaching 
and leading many of us, and I look upon us four 
as a united little band. 

" Trying to make plans for usefulness, but it seems 
as if it must wait." These very characteristic words 
describe the whole of her attitude on her return 
home, and during the next nine years, much as there 
was to do in the home, her energetic mind turned 
constantly to what she always called " outside work." 

In those days when young women were more tied 
and hidebound with the conventional idea of what 
women should or should not do, and the injunction 
" thou shalt not " was more often laid upon them 
than not, it was difficult, especially for one in 
Lady Victoria's condition, to do philanthropic work. 
Lady Emma had long before led the way among the 
women of Edinburgh, and though she was always 
beset with fears whenever anything was proposed 
that was a tax on her niece's health, still she knew 
that her unresting energy would never be really 
content with an existence passed on the sofa, and 
she helped to break down the conventional ideas 
which barred her usefulness to others. 

The first definite work which Lady Victoria under- 
took was to visit, in company with her sisters, at the 
Home for Crippled Boys in Kensington. There, 


weekly, a pleasant hour was passed in reading aloud 
to the boys in their workshops. 

One of her companions well remembers the nervous 
strain and the efforts to overcome the natural shyness 
and deep reserve which Lady Victoria had in these 
first ministrations. To the very end of her life, 
speaking to classes and meetings was always with 
her a great effort, and though she seemed to do so with 
outward ease, the preparation was always most 
careful, and the effort took much out of her. 

Her next work was one which drew her into closer 
relations with " the family of mankind." It required 
a greater effort to overcome her shyness, but she 
fought that difficulty and overcame the other 
obstacles, and was at length permitted to visit the 
wards of the Kensington Infirmary. At the bedsides 
of the patients she had her first training in a ministry 
to suffering humanity under some of its saddest 

It was " twice blessed," for in those wards she 
learnt in the temptations of life that no strange thing 
had happened to herself, and in hearing the trials of 
others she lost the sense of her own individual cares. 

To every strong nature there comes the temptation 
to believe that it stands alone in the world's battle- 
fields. A strong sense of individuality is apt to 
cause a morbid introspection. A large family is too 
often centred in itself, and believes devoutly that its 
ways are not as other men's, but greatly superior. 
For all such self-contained and self-sufficient errors, 
the school of life is the best remedy. When the gates 


of knowledge were thrown open, and freedom came 
from the schoolroom and the gymnasium, she became 
an eager scholar in the great school of humanity. 

A year or two after her return home, Lady Victoria 
saw that the health of Miss King was gradually 
failing. Her anxiety was not lightened by knowing 
how carefully the old woman was concealing her 
illness and sufferings from the Duchess, for the 
thought of her mistress was ever foremost in the 
mind of this devoted servant. 

Lady Victoria shared the secret with another 
friend in the household, Elizabeth Knowles, who was 
unwearying in her efforts to save Miss King all the 
work she could undertake for her, and she brought to 
her aid a rare gift of nursing. 

There are many places in this memoir where it 
would have been possible to give some account 
of this friend and servant of Lady Victoria's youth. 
At no time was she drawn into closer intercourse with 
Lady Victoria than during these years, when the 
two had a common friendship, and were sharing 
together the hopes and fears of a sick-room, and it 
seems appropriate to place here some of the story of 
her life of service. 

Elizabeth Knowles had been recommended to the 
Duchess as a reliable servant to be with Lady 
Victoria, when she was obliged to reside apart from 
the family. She had been in the service of Miss 
Morritt at Brighton, the beautiful girl to whom Sir 
Walter Scott dedicated his poem of Rokeby. Miss 
Morritt was a friend of the Misses Johnstone, and 

{Marshall, lVane &■ Co. 



through them the Duchess heard of the maid whom 
she desired to place in so reponsible a position. The 
" character " was more in accordance with the truth 
than many which are given, and from the day that 
Knowles entered the service of the family till the 
year when age and infirmities obliged her to retire 
from her many forms of service, she was always the 
devoted " watch-dog," as she was truly called, of 
all that belonged to the interests of her young charge. 

For thirty-nine years Elizabeth Knowles belonged 
to the household, and when Lady Victoria ceased to 
reside with her father, she accompanied her to Tiree. 
In a wonderfully preserved old age, she is still able 
to supply many a tale of Lady Victoria's wandering 

Knowles was a native of Leytonstone, a district of 
Essex, which is now a part of outer London, the great 
town having long ago swallowed up the country village 
of the days when she was born and brought up there. 
At the age of fifteen she first went out to service, 
and it was in 1866 that she entered the service of the 

Knowles recalls the first sight of her charge. For 
some reason, on arriving at Argyll Lodge, she had been 
told she was not to see Lady Victoria till the next 
morning. The lively inquisitiveness of that young 
person, who was then twelve years old, disregarded 
this edict, and she appeared " keeking in " at the door 
of the room where Knowles was seated. Thus the 
two, who were to tread together through the rest of 
life's pilgrimage, met face to face. Still vivid to the 


survivor is the picture of the bright face, smiling 
and full of mischief, the masses of her abundant golden 
hair standing out of the dusky background — the 
whole a vivid contrast to the crutches on which she 
then moved. 

If Knowles were able to write all the story of the 
days she spent in that lifetime service, it would be 
one of deep interest. She was well fitted to carry out 
the instructions of the doctors, and her perseverance 
in the long hours of home treatment, if it did not do all 
it was intended to do, set a fine example of conscien- 
tious and undeviating duty. It was no " eye service " 
with her, and she was as faithful to her orders, when 
apart from supervision, as she was when the authori- 
ties were at hand. For the first four years of her 
service she was much alone, and she managed the 
situation of being servant and overseer with a 
complete understanding of the relative positions of 
herself and her charge. 

Knowles was most helpful in stimulating and 
encouraging all Lady Victoria's growing efforts, and 
she never lost the outlook of her future life. It was she 
who first taught her to walk with one stick and the 
support of an arm, and almost to the end it was 
Knowles who best understood how to help and aid 

It was Knowles who first watched and tenderly 
nursed the earlier as well as the later stages of the 
long illness of 1868. It was she who was convinced 
that the grave symptoms had their root in some 
serious cause, and her efforts never relaxed till she 


had made the doctor and Lady Emma perceive that 
life was in danger. Fortunately, though with no 
special training, Knowles was a born nurse, and her 
sleepless vigilance and tender, resourceful handling 
were among the good gifts which were sent for the 
restoration of this life. 

In a very literal sense, she was always the " handy 
man." In the island life of the future she was to 
learn how to cook and housekeep, and when supplies 
failed, she learnt of necessity how to make bricks 
without straw. It was good to see the shrewd, 
keen-eyed Londoner dealing with the western Celt. 
She was never known to spare the truth as she saw it, 
and to exact an honest account of labour which 
had been paid for. Whether she was residing in " the 
ancestral home," where Dr. Douglas wished to think 
of Lady Victoria, or far away with her among the 
winds and billows of the mystic Isles, she said her 
mind in a manner which left nothing to be under- 
stood. Some farmer pedigree must have been 
in her blood, for she had the eyes of a tiller of the soil, 
and she understood animals thoroughly. 

Two Pomeranian dogs which gave much happiness 
to Lady Victoria as a girl were trained by Knowles. 
Frisky and Papillion were great additions, the first 
to her life in Brighton, and the last, a Frenchman, 
came into her possession at Cannes. 

When Knowles began residence among the island 
crofts, she had plenty to say concerning the lack 
of enterprise, the makeshift idleness, and the absence 
of all go-ahead methods in the farming of her many 


neighbours. Her comments were all full of a pungent 
accuracy which her victims had not energy to combat. 
She was never content with comment. When 
she was finally installed as housekeeper at the newly 
enlarged lodge in Tiree, she told the factor he had 
not sufficiently considered the interests of those who 
were to dwell in the house. It must be owned, had 
she been made clerk of the works and given a free 
hand, its amenities would have been considerably 
increased, and money would have been spent to 
better purpose. 

However, Knowles made the best of many a worse 
job, and she set herself to rear poultry, and make a 
garden out of an enclosure of sandy grass. It was 
discouraging when she watched the wild winds 
lift the cabbages from their shifting roots, and whirl 
them aloft. But it was not her role in life to be left 
grumbling, and she possessed endless ingenuity in 
making the best of every situation. Many were her 
contrivances under varying conditions to insure the 
comfort of one who was always too engaged in a 
wider field to take note of household cares. 

It is on record that in many of the resting-places 
Lady Victoria chose in the islands, those who came to 
call her with the morning cup of tea would find her 
in a room so thick with smoke, the occupant of the 
bed was almost invisible, but not inanimate, for she 
would be found immersed in writing, and oblivious 
of the gale which howled outside, or the reek which 
concealed her within. 

" Who will cook for her, who will provide ? " were 


the anxious queries of Lady Emma, when Lady- 
Victoria first resolved on life in the islands. " You 
may be certain, my lady, that Lady Victoria will not 
be allowed to starve," was the answer of Knowles, on 
the defensive 

She relates how on one of these early occasions a 
pair of rabbits had been left in the kitchen. They 
had to be skinned. The island girl professed herself 
ignorant of the art, and after the manner of the 
islanders, ran away from the difficulty. Knowles 
looked at the rabbits, and at the empty pot, and the 
runaway girl, and decided that if that pot was to boil 
she must try her hand. All went well till she reached 
the head of the rabbit, and then a certain lack of 
technique made the head come off with the skin, to her 
disgust, and the making of a good story against 

Many and wild are the adventurous journeys she 
can tell of now her lips are unsealed. " Say nothing 
about it," was the frequent command in the early 
days of their adventures, when her companion 
feared if all were known the powers that be might 
recall the travellers into a safe harbour. 

Often the start was made in the dark of a winter 
morning or moonless night. The road to the landing- 
places rough, the guide to the boat, the light of a 
nickering lantern. The steamers famous for their 
unpunctuality and their total disregard of the creature- 
comforts for man or beast. 

Then the tossing boats, the slippery gangways and 
deck ladders. Through it all the strong, skiful arms 


of the crews who knew how to help, and had no 
intention she should ever suffer for lack of care. 
" If it has got to be done, it can be done," the motto 
for the day's journey. " Give me hold of a rope, and 
I'll manage." On one occasion, owing to the tide, 
the carriage had to be backed into the sea, and when 
the footboard was awash, and the water stood to the 
horse's shoulder, she was got into it. " If she had seen 
fear, she could never have done it," thus Knowles 
summed up the life she was describing. The sentence 
reveals the whole secret of her enterprises. 

Knowles " saw fear " for her charge, but never 
failed to follow her leader and, mercifully, she saw 
with her all the humours of every situation. She 
was not made of the stuff of too many modern ser- 
vants. It never occurred to her to talk of the work 
for which she was, or was not, engaged, nor did she 
know that tiresome situation called " her place." She 
did what her hand found to do, and if the work was 
out of the way, she had the pride of perfect service, 
and brought to the crisis a clever brain, an observing 
eye, and a mother wit that saw how the thing could 
be done, and spared not the telling of it. 

Her fearless comments were always just, if not 
always judicious. Perhaps she expected too much 
from the raw material which came under her rule, 
and at times she was heavy on the feckless do-less-ness 
of her subordinates. 

For thirty-nine years she watched the strenuous 
life she had so materially fostered, and she knew, 
as no one else knew, how heavy was the tax on the 


frail body and tireless spirit. Often her sensations 
were those of a hen, when the duckling takes to the 
water. It was her lot to nurse Lady Victoria 
through innumerable breaksdown, and she never 
shirked the duty of saying " I told you so " with 
every variety of cheerful intonation. When these 
reminiscences reach the days of island life, Knowles, 
as " the universal provider," will often reappear. 



" Oh, friends with whom my feet have trod 
The quiet aisles of prayer, 
Glad witness to your zeal for God 
And love of man, I bear." 

After her homecoming " for good/' Lady Victoria 
kept no regular diary. There are a few scattered 
notes, but the little books, sometimes conscientiously 
begun, usually became memorandums of sermons 
she had " sat under," to use her constant phrase. 

It is difficult not to regret that her own experiences 
were not more often her theme, rather than sermons, 
which occasionally do not seem quite worthy of her 
elaborate care for their preservation. One such effort 
was made in 1871, when a small diary notes : " The 
Queen paid a visit to Argyll Lodge. Cockey died." 
This last being a very ancient and much-beloved 
Australian cockatoo of the grey and carmine tribe, 
who had been one of the family for many years. It 
was not till 1876, when a diary was presented to her 
with an inscription by Dr. MacGregor, that she began 
that daily record which was written up week by week, 
till within a day or two of her death. 

The constant recording of the sermons she heard 
was only the outward evidence of her weekly " times 



of refreshing." The deprivation she felt most 
serious, when she was laid low by her many illnesses, 
was any prolonged absence from church. She always 
noted how few or how many Sundays in the year, 
this misfortune had overtaken her. 

She much resented the attitude of doctors towards 
churchgoing. There is nothing more absurd in the 
not infrequent absurdities of medical advice than the 
dictum that the atmosphere of church on Sunday is 
detrimental to the health, while that of the theatre 
during the week is perfectly salubrious. It is part of 
medical " common law " to pander to the taste for 
bad air when it suits the patient's desires to 
breathe it. 

Lady Victoria had learnt from Lady Emma to 
seek medical advice on the Monday morning rather 
than on the Saturday night, and this habit of hers 
was well understood by her many friends in the world 
of doctors, in which she says she had lived so much. 
Many of them were among the greatest friends she 
possessed, and she repaid all of them with a bright 
outlook, however painful the condition in which they 
found her. None of them perhaps ever gauged to 
what an extent mind told upon matter, but from all 
who attended her she received an ungrudged devotion. 

After' Lady Victoria's return in 1870 the family, 
when in London, attended the English Presbyterian 
churches in Allen Street and Notting Hill. The 
National Church of St. Columba had not yet been 
built. The minister in Kensington at that time was 
the Rev. Gavin Carlyle, the nephew of Edward 


Irving. His church was near the Lodge, and she 
and Miss King were soon regular attendants. 

The family were all brought up as members of the 
Church of Scotland, but the practice of the Duke and 
Duchess was to attend the National Church in 
England, as well as in Scotland. The Duke cared 
first of all to hear good preaching, and he went 
wherever he could find it. In the early days of his 
London life he attended the ministry of Dr. Cumming, 
in Crown Court Church, Covent Garden, and in later 
years he went regularly to Westminster Abbey, 
where Dean Stanley was making it one of the greatest 
preaching stations in London. He also went with 
his children to the church in Regent Square, where 
Dr. Oswald Dykes was ministering to many a Scot, 
as well as to the English Presbyterians. 1 

Within this period the parish church of Kensington 
had received its young vicar, the Rev. William Mac- 
lagan. For forty years, Archdeacon Sinclair had been 
the vicar of the quaint Queen Anne church, built for 
" the Court suburb " of Kensington. He had lived 
to plan and rear the stately church of to-day, and 
into its newly consecrated walls came the vicar 
with the Scottish name and descent. The time he 
spent in London was destined to be one of widespread 
influence, and when he left the vicarage it was to 
move forward to high place in the Episcopate of the 
Church of England. His evangelical preaching and 
the weekly Bible readings were of the greatest 

1 The Duke, writing of Dr. Dykes, says, " so glad about Dykes' 
sermon. He is the most instructive preacher I have ever heard in any 
church. So much thought, so many, so little mere ornament." 


interest to Lady Victoria, and she with the Duchess 
and other members of the family were constantly 
in the parish church. 

In those days the order of service left some- 
thing to be desired in the Church across the Border, 
and very notably so in the Highland parishes. It 
was not easy at that time, and in all places, to find 
life either in the pulpit or in the pew, in the Church 
of her fathers. There is a note among her papers 
as to the effect of hearing for the first time the 
hymn " Through the night of doubt and sorrow, on- 
ward goes the pilgrim band." Those who were not 
brought up on " human hymns " had for recompense 
the conscious joy of receiving a first impression of 
their meaning and beauty : — 

Hymn 274, A. & M. Heard first when with my 
mother hearing Canon Body preach. A procession 
passing through the world, ever and anon others 
come and join. Light beams on them through the 
darkness, and they follow the Captain of their 
salvation through suffering. " One hope of your 

Lady Victoria loved the stately liturgy, and, above 
all, the music of the Anglican services. She was 
often a communicant, though the administration of 
the rite had its difficulties for her, and she preferred 
in this and its services of " free prayer " the forms 
of her own Church. 

No such exclusiveness as she had seen in her Edin- 
burgh surroundings ever hampered the Church life of 


herself or the family. They were destined among 
themselves to be closely in touch with both the 
National Churches, and in Scotland the Duke's friend- 
ships were never interfered with by the name of the 
Church. At Inveraray Dean Milman, Bishop Wilber- 
force, and Dr. Guthrie were all asked to preach to a 
" willing people." 

As the services of the Church Catholic and Apostolic 
were her great comfort in life, so naturally any stone 
of offence cast into that " comfortable way " was the 
greater stumbling-block. She knew from a varied 
experience the seamy side of Church politics, but it 
never narrowed her own charitable outlook. She 
found green pastures and still waters through many 
channels of church life, and ecclesiastical titles and 
sectarian labels never hindered her attendance or her 
friendships with the clergy. 

She had a keen eye for character, and anything 
which was not " straight " she detected very quickly. 
She had to suffer a great deal from sectarian partisan- 
ship, and the ways of Scottish dissent, whether of 
Episcopalians or Disruptionists, were often " hard to 
thole." Those who belong to small sects, whether 
in Church or State, are apt to pursue their ends by 
means not always open and above board, and the 
weaker they are in numbers and influence, the more 
shifty and intolerant are they likely to become. 

Among her friends at this time were Dr. Guthrie 
and his son, the minister of Liberton Free Church ; 
Dr. Ker, of the United Presbyterian Church ; 
Mr. Carlyle, Dr. Saphir, and Dr. Oswald Dykes, of 


the English Presbyterians. Dr. Story, Professor 
Charteris, Dr. MacGregor, with Mr. Maclagan and 
Mr. Webb-Peploe, were all guides to her spiritual 
life, and with all she formed deep and abiding friend- 

It may well be said, about these friendships and 
the many more she made as life went on, that her 
best and truest friends were the ministers of the 
Church. From the first contact with her mind and 
character they recognised her rich gifts, and knew 
that they were from her early years dedicated to the 
highest service. All along the ascent of "the hill 
Difficulty," she met from them with recognition, 
encouragement, and everything that could stimulate 
her mind and aid her spiritual life. They under- 
stood the intrepid spirit, the keen intellect, the 
unselfish thought for everyone before herself, her 
powers of organisation, and if in some things they 
felt her eager zeal outstripped their own, they never 
grudged her all she asked of their time and energy. 

In the bag she always wore at her side, the scrip 
of many a pilgrimage, there was found after her death 
the few lines yearly written to her by her minister, 
Dr. Fleming, in the church of St. Columba, as she 
set sail for the islands. The notes were written 
through several years. All of them remembered the 
perils and wearinesses of the road, and wished the 
traveller God-speed. As she prepared to journey 
west these words of encouragement and benediction 
were placed ready to her hand. There they were 
found, "when travelling days were done." 


Chiefly through the early friendship with Dr. 
Charteris her lines were in these years firmly anchored 
in the Church of Scotland. The great awakening 
of her spiritual life had come to her when she was 
under the influence of the Free Church of Scotland. 
She knew and thoroughly understood all the history 
of that body of Presbyterian belief. She drank of its 
evangelical fervour, but the fruits of the sin of schism 
had been seen by her, and she knew it was best to 
abide in the National Church. Her instinct of loyalty 
to the Church of her father, and the advice and en- 
couragement of Professor Charteris, made her fling 
herself heartily into the renewed " life and work " 
of the Church of Scotland. 

She had a tendency towards what Dr. Story 
called " dissenting tabernacles," if they contained 
what she was wont to call " spiritual food." No 
one felt more quickly than she did when there was 
" no message," when, as she termed it, " the place 
seems dead," or when she realised with keen intuition 
that the pastor was merely a hireling whose own the 
sheep were not. 

If she received much blessing from those she 
termed pastors and masters, they in their turn 
were stimulated and uplifted by the presence of that 
reverent and intense " hearer of the Word." " She 
was always a wonderful listener," was the description 
of one of her ministers, when he knew he would never 
again look down on the still figure with upturned 
face, the clear eyes fixed on the preacher. 

If the ministers gave much to her, one and all 


felt themselves inspired and enriched by her presence 
in the parish and church. 

After a short residence in one parish, and at a 
time when she was suffering from great weakness 
after a long illness, the minister wrote to her : — 

You have no idea what a strength it gives to a 
minister to have a parishioner like you. I had 
a talk to-day with Mrs. H., and she said you had 
heartened her in a way no other person had ever 
done. She appeared to have been quite touched 
by what you had said to her, and it gave me an 
opening I have never had before. 

I shall carry out your instructions to the letter, 
to the best of my ability. If you allude to church 
attendance, might you say something about the very 
depressing effect irregular church attendance has 
on the minister ? I hate, myself, to enter on these 
personal matters, but you have no idea how down 
in the mouth I sometimes am on a Sunday evening 
from this reason. Many, many thanks to you, 
Lady Victoria, for your keen and kind interest 
in the welfare of this parish. I know it is to you 
a labour of love, but to me it is an unspeakable 
joy. My hope and prayer are that your example 
may infect some of the parishioners. 

Such words as these will find an echo in the heart 
of many a toiling minister whose isolation, sometimes 
of spirit as much as of place, she in her turn ministered 
unto. Probably her wandering life brought her into 


communion with more churches than almost anyone 
of her generation. Very many, and scattered over a 
wide field, were the pulpits from which the Sunday 
after her death words of thankful remembrance were 
uttered from the heart for this strong daughter of 
the faith. 

Loyalty to the minister was her first demand from 
all church-workers with whom she was associated. 
She was not destitute of the true mark of Scottish 
Presbyterians, and she knew how to criticise the 
minister. " How can he give anything out if he puts 
nothing in," was a comment she would make on a 
sermon destitute of study. Her criticisms were 
always to the minister, and not on him to others, and 
in friendly confabulation she communicated to him 
her mind without reserve. One minister relates how 
she once arrived at his door on behalf of one of his 
parishioners, for whose welfare she was at the moment 
deeply concerned. " Be quick ! The man will be 
dead while you are waiting to go to him." " I knew," 
said another when the record was closed, " that she 
always kept me up to the mark ; I did not realise 
she was keeping fifty others." 

She had the strongest dislike to the petty and dis- 
loyal backbitings, however Christian their site and 
environment, which too often sap the vitality of 
Church organisation. 

Certainly no minister had ever cause to complain 
of her absence from ordinances. Occasionally they 
joined their brethren of the healing art, in recom- 
mending less strenuous church-going. They were not 


those who knew best wherein she found rest. " No 
true friends," she would laughingly say. A descrip- 
tion of her, uttered by an old woman at Inveraray, 
was often quoted on such occasions, and no one 
enjoyed the story more than she did herself. " And 
how's Lady Victoria ? Dear lady ! She is sore on 
herself, she is that gospel greedy." 

" Gospel greed " was satisfied in these years of 
residence in London and Edinburgh, and her friend- 
ships with the men who understood her difficulties, 
and the participation in the Christian year of the 
Church of England, all contributed to the growing 
expansion of her mind. 

The mental and bodily sufferings of Miss King 
made her turn eagerly to the counsel and help of one 
who, in the story of Miss King's Life, she describes 
as " The Pastor of another nation." Dr. Adolph 
Saphir's refined and sympathetic friendship stood her 
in good stead in this sad time. He was a frequent 
visitor to her and to the sick-room, and Lady Victoria 
confided to him the clouds which darkened the valley 
of shadows. Difficulties which were shared in by her- 
self, and the fatigue of body, told on her in great 
spiritual depression. Lady Victoria's notebooks show 
what a learner she was, and how gladly she heard 
this preacher. Dr. Saphir expounded the Law and 
the Prophets with profound knowledge of the history 
of his own race, and with the fervent evangelical piety 
of his Christian ministry. The life of this remarkable 
minister, written by the Rev. Gavin Carlyle, contains 
a correspondence with Lady Victoria. The subjects, 


both of these letters and others which were not pub- 
lished, show how wide was the range of her inquiries, 
and on how many topics she sought for information 
from this tender and fervent evangelist. 

After the death of Miss King, Lady Emma was 
determined Lady Victoria should have a complete 
change, and arranged that she should accompany 
them to those western isles which had only just 
begun to appear on the horizon of her life. In a letter 
written in 1875 she says : — 

I am very glad to have been with her to the last. 
She wandered a little sometimes. She asked me 
for myself one day, and then, when she found it 
was I, she muttered something about being alike. 
She thought it was one of the others. 

It is so difficult to take in one will never see the 
dear face again. I am going to see her grave before 
I go, it is not far from Dr. Guthrie's. I am so 
glad Uncle John went. It was a glorious day, 
and so Dot was not fussy about him. He came in 
on Friday last to see her. She said she wished she 
had words to express her gratitude to him. Just 
in her old way, and then fussed about his cup of 
tea being right. 

The McNeills think of leaving this next Friday, 
and go by Iona to Colonsay. I think it will be nice 
going with them. I have not seen either place, 
but naturally nothing can seem very cheerful just 


" I have not seen either place ! " So do our 
destinies meet us, and with a heart left behind in 
the Holy City her steps were turned, for the first time, 
to the sacred isle. Ten years later she wrote to one 
of her sisters, who was going there, " Make use of 
Iona. Next to Auld Reekie, it is the dearest spot on 
earth to me. I wad fain lay me doon and dee there." 

There is no record left of this her first visit. She 
returned to Inveraray to take up again her home 
work, and that her spirits were returning is shown by 
the extract given here of a letter she wrote to one of 
the sisterhood. 

Inveeaeay. Oct 8th, 1875. 

... I had a very nice drive with Papa this morn- 
ing which was extremely good for me. He showed 
great solicitude about my driving at breakfast, 
and I accordingly found him ready to go with me. 
The start was a little anxious, as Largy appeared 
as usual alone, and Donald informed me he was 
not in quite a serene temper, as Colin, who had had 
him the other day with Mr. Meikle, had whipped 
him off from the door, " and he has not forgotten 
it, my lady." Baby, who had met him and driven 
him to the door, hastened to assure me he had got 
quite quiet directly she took the reins, which I 
quite believe, and felt pretty confident Mr. Largy 
would be quite satisfied as soon as he found it was 
I, which view Donald also took. 

No sooner had my father taken his seat than he 
inquired if we could go to the Queen's Drive ? 


Assent was given, and in a south-west gale off we 
set ; Papa making some rude remarks anent being 
blown away were it not for my solidity, and if I 
had become incapable of keeping my seat through 
giggles it would have been thanks to him. Largy 
behaved like a gentleman, as he is, and you may 
tell Dot with my love, that women's driving 
with horses of that character is preferable and 
safer on the principle of gentleness. I took the 
opportunity of hinting strongly for a gig-pony, 
told him you had had more pain, and heard again 
from him that you must not over exert. All these 
put together, who can say what may not come 
of it? 

A little earlier the Duke had purchased the yacht 
" Columba," which was to add greatly to the 
happiness of himself and the members of his 
family who enjoyed yachting. It was considered the 
best thing for the Duchess's health, and the Duke 
loved nothing so well as to get away " as free as the 
seagulls " to his yacht, and turn her course to the 
winds and waves of the western isles. In the 
" Columba " the family became intimately acquainted 
with the islands, and gradually Lady Victoria read 
in those waters the message to herself. She preserved 
among her papers two letters from the Duke, written 
about his visit to that island when it was to her, what 
Dr. Mair of Earlston called it later, when declining 
to find someone exactly fitted for the post she de- 
scribed : " I am afraid such a person is not kept in 


stock here — she would need to be made to order ! 
Besides, I doubt that at the East of Scotland it would 
be thought expatriation to go to Tiree — the place is 
a terra incognita." 

One person, in these years of training, was being 
" made to order," but the time was not yet, and the 
Duke writes to her of two expeditions he makes to 
the terra incognita. It was a land he loved dearly, 
and the description he gives is as vivid as his affection 
was great. The second visit was after the death of 
the Duchess, in 1878. 

July 15th, 1874. Benmore Cottage. 

We made out Tyree beautifully, but the 
" Columba " rocked gently all night, and Mama 
felt as if she had " to hold on," so it prevented her 
sleeping. Therefore we did not stay long, and ran 
back to Bunessan where we had a glorious sunset. 
We trawled with the net out of Bunessan Harbour, 
and caught a great deal of the Norway lobster, 
which I had never seen before. It is like a gigantic 
prawn. Very pretty, and excellent to eat. 

We start to-morrow for Skye to see Loch Coruisk, 
as the weather looks again fine and settled with 
wind from the north. If this weather continues, 
I shall be tempted to run to my favourite Glen 
Dhu, in Sutherland. The fishing here is nothing 
now, and Baby chaffs the Doctor about it. Mary 
has been riding on a pony from Knock, and she 
rode in Tyree. That island is delicious with birds. 
Larks in thousands, plovers, sandpipers, and sea 


birds of all sorts. The smell of the grass, too, is 
full of perfume. 

" Columba," Tyree. Sep. 16th, 1880. 

Dearest Victoria, — The morning rose so fine that 
I determined to run to Iona to see the cross and 
then on here, all which we have accomplished in 
the most delicious weather. The cross is beautiful 
in itself. Rather spoiled by the railing and the low 
wall round it. But we could not allow all who come 
to get access to it. Blackguards would inevitably 
break the edges off and damage it. It is beautifully 
worked, and dear old Vass touched me by the 
intense delight with which he received my praises 
of it. He walked off, averting his face, and re- 
peating, " Well, that's good to hear." It is very 
conspicuous from the sea, perhaps hardly massive 
enough from that distance to have the best effect, 
but it is on the site with the finest view, and 
closest to where she sat last time we were there. 
The day has been divine. I never saw one more 
lovely. All the hills of all the islands were clear 
under a sky of the softest creamy whites and blues. 
The sea nearly quite smooth. I hope to spend 
all to-morrow on the island if the weather keeps 
as fine. We had a good fishing to-night ; Constance, 
as usual, catching most of the biggest. Hamish 
much excited. The bay here is quite calm. All 
the islanders busy taking in their harvest. I 
enclose a bit of fern from the spot where Mama 
last sat at Iona. 


Bunessan. 11th, 6 p.m. 

Just come from Tyree, where we had a most 
successful visit. Yesterday was glorious. 

Your affectionate father, 


It was in 1874 that the personality, mentioned by 
the Duke as " Hamish," was to bring his enthusiastic 
and vital friendship into the Argyll family. 

The Duke had been to hear the great preacher 
in Edinburgh. He had no personal acquaintance 
with Dr. MacGregor, but being in town for a Sunday, 
and all his " auld Lichts " being dead or gone, he 
asked advice of the waiter in his hotel where he should 
attend church. 

He was directed to St. Cuthbert's Church, to which 
Dr. MacGregor had just been called. The Duke 
heard him in the morning, and followed him in the 
evening to the Tron Church, an act which considerably 
discomposed the preacher as he heard the Duke was 
again sitting under him, and his intention had been 
to give the Tron congregation what had served that 
of St. Cuthbert's. 

The Duke wrote at once to the Duchess that he 
had " found a second Guthrie," and according to his 
wont it was not long before he had made the acquain- 
tance of the minister whose preaching had at once 
so deeply attracted him. 

Dr. MacGregor arrived at Inveraray in the autumn 
of 1874. He came as a new acquaintance of the 
Duke's ; he left it a friend who had entered into the 


very heart of the affections of every member of the 
family. He himself had passed through the heaviest 
trial it was possible to sustain. His home had been 
destroyed by a series of devastating losses, and was 
left unto him desolate. He came to Inveraray well 
able to understand the brooding anxieties which 
hung over the family, and he saw with living sym- 
pathy the portion of care which fell to the lot of 
each one. 

The new interests and surroundings ministered to 
his own bereaved life. No touch of morbid intro- 
spection ever clouded the fervent belief of " the little 
doctor." He found too much of it among his new 
friends, and he set himself to teach one and all that 
religion was the happiest and brightest thing in 

He became the intimate friend of the Duke, and 
the Duchess, if at first a little surprised at the eager 
excitement of his manner, trusted and understood 
him completely. " I suppose he considers it an 
apostolic injunction," was her comment, as she 
witnessed an unconventional and fervent leave- 
taking. He never left, but he was bidden to return. 
He was the life of the schoolroom, and he created 
one for himself. He found a lamentable ignorance 
of the Gaelic among the young people, and, sending 
for a number of Gaelic grammars, he inscribed the 
names of each, and at a table round, in one of the 
Castle turrets, he instituted himself schoolmaster. 
With a long quill pen as ruler he endeavoured to 
reduce to order " the girls " under his tuition. There 


was more fun than learning of Gaelic, and only one 
of the scholars took seriously to heart the admonition 
that Gaelic ought to be as much part of their lives 
as was their highland ancestry. The first repayment 
that was made him was to give him the Gaelic 
rendering of his own name, and he soon learnt that 
he had become better known as " Dr. Hamish " 
than by his proper designation. 

He read Italian with another of his new pupils, 
and in the long summer nights of the first of his 
many arrivals at " beautiful Inveraray," he taught 
the whole party some elementary astronomy. No 
yachting expedition was complete without him. 
" Hamish much excited," might have been entered 
into the log-book of the yacht every hour. The 
glories of " God's world," and the wonders of the 
deep, never palled on his eager spirit. He was as 
welcome in the smoking-room as everywhere else. 
" All things to all men," and ever bringing with his 
presence the power of throwing himself whole- 
heartedly into the lives of those who always sought 
his society. " Roars of laughter," in his own words, 
marked his whereabouts, and the bright vitality of 
temperament cast sunshine wherever he went. 

Many of the friends of that day can look back 
and see what a good gift his friendship was in their 
lives. He had come to stay. Never did his interest 
and grip of their hands and hearts loosen, till death 
had thinned that large circle, and he himself had 
passed with his triumphant and joyous faith into 
the light that never was on sea or land. 


Some notes from Lady Victoria's diary of 1877 are 
indications of her work, and give slight memorandums 
of the early visits to the islands with her parents. 

London. March 17th, 1877. 

Went with M. to Infirmary, encouraged to go 
again. The difference of people's lives. En- 
couraged to go on. 

July 11th. 

Left Inveraray for Campbeltown. Morning on 
deck with Mama. Afternoon sat and talked to 
Mary by the wheel. Lovely lights on Arran Hills. 
Saw the hills of Rosneath. 

July 12th. 

C. and I went in the boat to fish. 

July 13th. 

All day on board. Wet. Began Dr. Saphir's 

Sunday, July 15th. 

All day on board. Very stormy. Read Liddon 
and Erskine. Mr. Maclagan's Bible-reading notes. 

July lGth. 

Still detained by weather. 

July 11th. 

Came round the Moil to Lowlandman's Bay. 


July l%ih. 

Lovely morning. Paps of Jura clear. Ran to 
Oban. Beautiful sunset. 

July \§ih. 

Started with Dr. MacGregor on board, but, coming 
on wet, ran into Tobermory. Read Liddon's 

July 20th. 

Went to Iona. Heavy swell. Lovely day. 
Landed at Iona, walked about. 

July 21st. 

Read Skene to M. while the others went ashore. 
Then to Loch Scridan. Trawled, but too wet. 
Places recalled much to me. What deep cause for 
thankfulness there is. 

July 22nd. 

Dr. MacGregor had service on board. Text, 
" The Lord is King, let the earth rejoice." The 
doctrine of God's decrees, and the comfort of them. 
" I know no other ray of hope and of light." 

July 23rd. 

All day at Bunessan. Read to M., and wrote 
out Dr. MacGregor 's sermon. Thunderstorm in 

July 2Uh. 

Went to Iona for letters. Back to Salen. Took 
Dr. MacGregor to see Dr. Cumming. 


July 25th. 

Blowing hard. Morning with Mary. Writing 
out sermon. Back to Bunessan. Fishing and 

July 26th. 

Started for Oban. Stopped to see Staffa. 

July 27th. 

Trawled near Lochnell. Anchored at Lismore. 
Brought back to me the time in 1874 ; so much 
ground gone over since then. Never, I think, to 
be retrod. 

The next break in the family life was caused by 
the fire at Inveraray Castle in 1877. 

There is a characteristic entry of this event in 
Lady Victoria's diary : — 

Awoke about five by Knowles. Castle on fire ; 
all got out safely into stables. Rest of the day 
in inn. Fire got under soon. Mrs. Blair died. 

The last name was that of the wife of one of the 
tenants, whose sick-bed she had been attending. 
The fire was to be a landmark in the family life. 
It broke the routine of the passing years, and it 
proved to be the close of one of the chapters in the 
story of their fives. 

It may be that the shock, so calmly borne at the 
time, or the sudden exposure in the stormy morning, 


affected the Duchess's already shattered health ; she 
failed steadily from that date till the end. 

The Duke removed his household for the winter 
to Rosneath Castle, a return which was an unmixed 
joy to the members of the family, who had not for 
many years revisited the home of their early youth, 
and the centre of their devoted affections. 

Among the friendships which were strengthened 
and renewed by the return to Rosneath, was the one 
with the widow of the Rev. Dr. Campbell, of Row. 
Mrs. Campbell and her family were living at the house 
where Dr. Campbell had died. Achnashie, on the 
Gareloch, was, what its name denotes, " the field of 
peace," and Lady Victoria found much comfort 
in the sagacity and warm-hearted love of Mrs. Camp- 
bell, and in the friendship of her daughter, Margaret. 
To this last she writes, after the winter had 
passed : — 

I am so very glad to know your mother and 
yourself. It is amongst the very pleasant things 
of this last winter, and I feel in you I have made 
a friend for life, for your own sake, but the beginning 
of my f eeling was your being your father's daughter. 
He is one of the causes which made me look on 
Rosneath as a corner of the Holy Land, and, as I tell 
you, the verse which always comes to my mind 
in connection with him is this, "He being dead, 
yet speaketh." I read both the pamphlets, and 
think them, as I think all his writings, beauti- 


Oct. 18th, 1877. 

Started for Rosneath. Thinking much of all 
that had happened. Feel return to Rosneath, 
very sad. People on the pier. 

Oct. 20th. 

Saw Dr. Story. Feel the blank of Kingie terribly. 
Think of the time passed since being here when 
only thirteen. 

Oct. 2lst. 

All went to church. Dr. Story on, " Be watchful, 
strengthen the things which remain." Applied to 
our own spiritual life. 

Oct. 22nd. 

Dr. and Mrs. Story called. Would like to see 
more of him. Feel the blank more and more. 

Oct. 27th. 

Afternoon in donkey-chair with Louise and the 
sisters, round the Green Isle point. Thought much 
of old times and my lonely rides there. Week of 
much anxiety. Feel how much cause for thankful- 
ness we have, and that now we must settle down. 
A week of much dreaming. 

The year closed in the old home in peaceful quiet. 
The intercourse with the Manse was a happy feature 
of the winter, and the family had their first experience 
of an observance of Christmas Day in the parish 


The dawn of the year 1878 she met with a note of 

Jan. 1st, 1878. 

" Thy vows are upon me, God. If any man 
will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine. 
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall 
direct thy path. In everything, by prayer and 
supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests 
be made known unto God, and the peace of God 
which passeth all understanding shall keep us." 

Dr. Story preached on " Redeeming the time, 
for it is short." 

The Duke and Duchess removed early in January 
to London. Lady Victoria was detained at Rosneath 
by the very serious illness of Knowles. Some of her 
sisters remained with her, and Communion Sunday 
was in the last week of January. Her mother wrote 
to her : — 

I shall think of you in Rosneath Church next 
Sunday. You will tell me all about it. My first 
Scotch Communion was in the old church there 
in 1844, a very long time ago. I send you my best 
blessing. God grant His blessing more and more, 
and give you the happiness which comes from 
believing in His redeeming love — " the peace 
which passeth all understanding." 

Never again was the Duchess to return to her 
Scottish homes. In the May of 1878 the long struggle 
against increasing weakness ended with startling 


suddenness. There had been two attacks of her 
malady in recent years ; the final seizure was one 
of great severity, and she never recovered conscious- 
ness. The Duke and Duchess were dining with 
Lord and Lady Frederick Cavendish, to meet their 
old friend, Mr. Gladstone. He was among the first 
of the guests to see, during dinner, that the Duchess 
was seriously ill. By him, she was carried into the 
adjoining room, where, in the early morning, she 
passed away. 

Lady Victoria was at the seaside with a sister, who 
had gone there for convalescence after an illness. 
Other members of the family were absent, but they 
gathered quickly, and were with the Duke through 
the sad home-coming to Rosneath. Her own records 
of this time were as brief as the impressions were 
abiding. She returned to London, and in a letter 
written to a sister, absent in Edinburgh, she says : — 

I would rather have been there, pain and all, 
but we were saved a great deal, and she was totally 
unconscious. I feel every now and then as if it 
must be a dream, but it is a terrible reality. One 
longs that the last part of her life should not have 
had so much pain, but we must try to leave it 
all with God. Miss Marsh came to-day, and she 
said in her prayer with me this sorrow, which an 
earthly father would have spared us, if he could, 
the Heavenly Father must have sent in love to all. 
Our first object must be our father. All future 
plans must be more or less uncertain ; but, for the 


present, we are to go to Helensburgh, where I 
suppose you will join us with Knowles. Next day 
we go on to Rosneath, and the following day we 
girls go, as well as everyone else, to Kilmun. They 
move her to Westminster Abbey to-morrow, there to 
lie until she is taken north. The brothers go with her. 
Mr. Maclagan is coming to have prayers with us 

In her diary she writes : — ■ 

Was awoke at 7.30 by two telegrams telling me 
Mama had gone. Came up with C. and saw Papa, 
and then went to see her. There prayed, with 
God's help, to do what I could, specially for little C. 

June 1st. 

One whirl of seeing people and arranging things. 
B. Coventry done me much good. Feel how terribly 
often I have failed. But He can and will forgive. 
So much cause for intense thankfulness. 

June 5th. 

Day of the funeral. Beautiful service in library 
by Dr. Story. The boys of the " Cumberland " 
played the Dead March as we moved off. The 
sight of the hills broke me down. 

June &h. 

Everybody, except Dr. MacGregor, went away. 
Percy remains with us. The days pass as in a 


The Duke went for a yachting cruise during 
July. The sight of the " Columba," with its many 
memories, was a trial to all ; but to launch out 
into the deep, and to be again with what he describes 
as " the perennial fountain of refreshment/' the 
world of Nature, was the best thing for the one 
who was the special care of his children. 

July Gth. 

Came to Iona. Thinking so much of last year. 
Week of facing anew the great sorrow, but able, 
as it were, to sit under the shadow of it. 

July 7th. Bunessan. 

Mary and I landed to go to church. Were joined 
by Papa and brothers. Thinking of Dr. Mac- 
Gregor's sermon last year. 

July 8th. 

Started for Iona. Saw Stafla on the way. At 
one went in boat to see white marble quarry. 
Trawled. Afternoon went to Tiree. All landed 
except me. Feel self-made line must be carried out. 

July 9th. 

Landed with Ian, and joined him at Chapels 
in minister's gig. Quiet time there. 

July 10th. 

Landed with Libby, and went along sands and 
reef with minister. Waited for Papa at Manse. 
Came back to Bunessan in evening. Much roll. 


July 24th. 

Telegram from Ian anent going to Canada. 
Dr. MacGtregor came. On Sunday preached on 
" He that overcometh." 

In October, 1878, the Duke took a villa at Cannes, 
and with his daughters spent the winter on the 
Riviera. There was a short stay in London. 

Came to London, saw Dr. John Brown on 
the way. He looked intensely sad, and feels the 
change among us. Parish church. Took the 
Communion with Evey, F., and Mary. The new 
vicar. What an oasis that church has been ! 
Yet speaking as with a voice from the past. We 
must press on. 

Nov. 8th. 

Lord Dufferin came to see us, recalling old 
memories. Arrived at Cannes. The villa de- 
lightful. Feel it to be an harbour of rest. Wish 
it to be so. Grow in grace and in knowledge. 
Many difficulties and failures there must be. Life 
of entire consecration, forbearance, and love, over- 
coming strife. 

The return to Cannes in her twenty-fourth year 
marked the next decade since the crisis of her ill- 
ness. The home life had called her, and she had 
given herself to its absorbing claims. The death 
of her mother had closed one chapter in her 


life. She had seen the islands of her future love. 
As she drove to the ancient chapels in Tiree, she 
little thought of the home that was to be built 
beside them for her life's work, and when she drove 
along " the reef " there was no vision of the many- 
journeys across its sandy road it was to be her 
lot to make. She had only seen the promised land, 
and for a time other cares and thoughts were to 
engross her life. Courage she ever possessed, but she 
was always anxious and troubled, and needed the 
words sent her by the minister of Rosneath on the 
eve of the New Year. 

Xmas, 1878. 

The passing of the old year must have been full 
of trying associations, which gather and do not 
diminish as time advances. " We are saved by 
Hope/' and, as what lies behind us darkens, 
the horizon of the future should expand and 

She had begun the year, fraught with so many 
changes, by recording the words of promise ; in the 
close of that time, she drew up, for her own guidance, 
the days and subjects for her own intercessory 

Sundays. 1878. 

For members of my union and clergy in par- 
ticular. A deeper realisation of that rest in Christ, 
which He has promised. 



For special grace and strength in meeting the 
duties and trials of another week. To let some 
" chime," heard on Sunday, echo on throughout 
the week. 


The Infirmary day in London. For my ward in 
particular, and for all sick and weary ones. For 
grace and wisdom for myself. 


Special pleadings for those near and dear to 


Our C.C. meeting. A blessing to follow on it, 
and on the place and ministers. 


For anyone or any cause brought specially 
before me in an exceptional way. 


Remember the past week. Self-examination. 
Ask for blessing and refreshment on the morrow. 
Expect an answer. 

Later. Saturday is to be for God's ancient 
people too. 



" I cannot rest by day or night 
Till all men's burdens have grown light, 
Till round my neck their sins are hung, 
Till their dull sorrows loose my tongue. 

I will not rest by night or day 
Till I have flung my life away, 
In every stream, that whoso will 
With sympathy his cruse may fill." 

To Lady Victoria the return to Cannes, after an in- 
terval fraught with so much growth in her own life, 
and which had brought such changes in the circle of 
her home, made a great landmark in the highway of 
her life. 

Cannes, to her, had many associations with the 
past. To others of the family it was their first 
experience of a foreign country, and the first intro- 
duction to scenery out of their native land. However 
determined they were to cherish their national 
prejudices, and to leave their hearts in the high- 
lands, they could not altogether escape a conviction 
that sunny France had a different order of merit 
from their misty west. The Villa Isola Bella was 
worthy of its name, built on one of the terraced 
heights of the hills that surround Cannes, and sheltered 



from the keen mistral winds. Its garden, set with 
olives, mimosa, and arbutus, sloped steeply towards 
the sea. The stucco pillars that supported the 
portico of the house were twined and clustered with 
Gloire de Dijon roses, and they framed the outlook 
from the windows over the Mediterranean Sea and 
away to the Esterel hills, whose outlines had become 
familiar and dear to Lady Victoria during her first 
visit to Cannes. 

The Villa Poralto, which had been purchased by 
Sir John and Lady Emma after their marriage, was 
close to the gates of the Isola Bella, and the near 
neighbourhood for the winter of the McNeills made it 
more like home for all the large party. 

In the late autumn Lord Lome had gone to Canada 
to take up his duties as Governor-General. His 
departure, so soon after his own great bereavement, 
had been severely felt by the Duke, and as many of 
the family as were able came out to stay with him at 
Cannes. There were also other interests, and more 
changes were at hand in the circle of the sisterhood. 

Lord George's future wife was staying with her 
parents in Cannes, and the addition of Eustace 
Balfour to the party filled Lady Victoria's mind 
with new thoughts and concern for these " home 

There were various causes for anxiety. The Duke 
had a severe attack of gout, and other matters, com- 
bined with Lady Victoria's usual habit of trying 
to bear everybody's burden besides her own, undid 
the beneficial effects of her first month on the Riviera. 


The change and refreshment of the brighter climate 
had done her much good, but she needed a more 
complete rest from the past strain, and more quiet 
than was possible under the circumstances ; and she 
was completely laid aside by a severe nervous break- 
down, entailing much acute suffering, and for many 
weeks she was seriously ill. 

As was so often the case, she was happy in her 
medical' friend. Dr. Franck's name had become well 
known -for his services during the Franco-Prussian 
War. He was the principal, and most widely beloved 
physician in Cannes, and his marriage with Lady 
Agnes Grosvenor had connected him with a wide 
circle of family and friends. 

Ill as she was, Lady Victoria's room was, as always, 
the meeting-place of the household life. Her father 
was constantly with her, consulting her on all the 
many " affaires " which were in progress, and reading 
to her in the days when she was too ill for conver- 

As soon as she was better, she began to find outside 
work for herself. There were many invalids, and 
an " Asile " for those in poorer circumstances gave 
scope for all her ever-living sympathy towards 
such as had fallen by the wayside. 

Some pages from a diary she began at this time 
show her thoughts during these months and subse- 
quent years. 

First day at Cannes. Sunday, Nov. 20th, 1878. 
This olive branch (pasted into diary) brought 


home in remembrance of my first time in the Isola 
Bella garden, where I have had a very happy 
time, feeling that God will bless to me the return 
here, and having looked back over these past 
eight years and a half through which, however dark 
and weary much of it was, I know my heart's 
prayer when last here, to be more with, and to know 
more of, my mother, has been granted. I was 
allowed to be of some use, and, I think, comfort 
to her. 

Strange, too, to look back upon my determina- 
tion not to spend a winter away while she was 
with us. The olive brings back to me her intense 
love for the trees. Reminding her, I believe, of 
Gethsemane, and the Peace which our Saviour 
through His agony brought to us, if we bring to 
Him our heavy load of sin and sorrow. This is the 
only rest ! On looking back, every step of the way 
is marked by failures, sins, rebellings, and mur- 
murings of heart. It seems almost strangely 
appropriate that one of the Psalms for this morn- 
ing is the li., 17 : " The sacrifices of God are a 
broken spirit." Then the call my "Daily Light" 
has given me to-day is from Rom. xn. 1. 

Perhaps this time at Cannes is a call to rest 
awhile, but not in slothfulness. The leisure to be 
employed for God. A time of growing in grace, 
and in the knowledge of God. 

The last injunction, as their Pastor, our Bishop 
(Dr. Maclagan) gave to his people, the last thing he 
sent us away with, was that call so oft repeated, 


to find our rest from the burden of sin, from the 
weariness of the way, from the desolation of 
bereavement, in God the Father. 

Bee. 30th, 1878. 

Only one more day in this sad year, but under- 
neath it all are there not deep undertones of thank- 
fulness ? Have we not learnt to join in the thanks- 
giving for those who have departed this life in 
His faith and fear ? 

A fuller consciousness of how the only peace in 
this world must be in having a mind at perfect 
peace with God. 

This year closes leaving me with deep thankful- 
ness. My dear F. is towed into harbour by one 
who, I believe, will be a good and tender husband 
to her. Little C. has fallen in a peculiar way her 
sisters' charge and responsibility. 

Dec. 31st. 

Ross has been playing the pipes in the garden. 
" The Land of the Leal " wakening up the echoes 
of Inveraray, and the last chapter of Rosneath 
life associated with Kingie ; then he played the 
last night at Inveraray, and now at Cannes. 

So closes the record of this last chapter of days 
that had been, and were no more. 

The family life was broken at its centre. The Castle 
burnt, its hall a ruin, roofless and deserted. The old 
year vigil kept under a southern sky, with the 


piper calling the coronach among the olives of the 

Changes and chances hovering over the sister- 
hood, and an unknown future before them all. 
Well might her minister, remembering them and 
writing from " the Point of the Sanctuary," remind 
her that " we are saved by Hope." 

Violets brought home to me by my father the 
first Sunday in 1879. In bed until evening with 
bad chest cold, on the top of my neuralgic illness. 
Colin read to me the viii. Romans and the vi. of 
St. John. Thinking much of Mrs. Hall's note 
received this week, on trustfulness in our Heavenly 
Father. Casting on Him the many cares which 
would press. Might not these flowers, emblems 
of humility, lowliness, and the care taken of them 
who take no thought for themselves, be an echo of 
this lesson, and one, surely, with which to begin 
this new year ? 

I feel thankful for this time of retirement, and 
I feel how I have failed in pondering these things, 
and thus making them more my own, and seeing 
how grievously I have failed in not commit- 
ting all to Him. Long to seek more earnestly 
to abide under the shadow of His wings. To go 
or come, to work, wait, or suffer, according as His 
will may be. 

Have sometimes almost longed to die, but I 
know this has been more from weariness of body 
and of spirit than aught else. Not in the spirit of 


absolute surrender to what He sees best. He has 
given me work to do, I know it, if I only can 
sufficiently lean on His promise of perfecting 
His strength in our weakness. 

In the evening watched the moonlight and stars 
coming over the hill covered with stone pines, 
and thought of that verse : — 

" Coiae to me in the evening shade, 
And if my heart from Thee has strayed, 
Oh, bring it back, and from afar 
Shine on me like the evening star." 

This begins the week of Prayer, bringing with 
it the message that though debarred from the 
public services, " Praise and Prayer may, and ought, 
to ascend from my heart." 

April 13th. Easter Sunday. 1879. 

If all goes well, and as we expect this is our last 
Sunday at Cannes, I have been looking at my entry 
on our first Sunday, and I feel and know, however 
guilty of misusing and neglecting I have been, it 
has been a time fraught with lessons and mercies 
for me. Not such a time of leisure as I then thought. 
During the weeks of my neuralgic illness I seemed 
to see clearer than ever before the uselessness of 
any work or activity except in the spirit of Christ. 
The willingness to serve or to wait ought to be 
the attitude of our minds. Take more quiet time, 
when possible, to meditate on the things of 


I never realised before how time may pass 
without the help of reading or writing. Doing 
either to any purpose was out of the question for 
months. Dr. Hanna's vivid realisation that above 
and through all the perplexities and mysteries 
God's Love shines, has helped me greatly. 

Eustace's music spoke to me at this time more 
than any other. And this being settled for dear 
F. is a great matter for thankfulness. 

After that I passed through a time of physical 
and spiritual (?) collapse, when I felt I could not 
bear the thought of taking up the burden of life 
again, and shrank from its jars. 

I have sometimes thought this was one reason 
why the work with Frances Jarvis was given me 
to do. A little while ago I saw her and told her 
I believed her illness to be hopeless. Since then, 
surely, in her message of love to me, and saying she 
was reading her Testament, there is a glimmer of 
that day-star for which so many are longing and 
waiting, and which is surely coming. These days 
have taught me more than volumes of theology, 
how we must learn of Christ and sit at His feet, 
if we would be His children. How vain it is by 
intellect to try and find out God ! How needful 
it is in a time like this to keep very near to God ! 
To be clothed with humility, and seek to speak His 
words ; when the door is shut, to remember it 
will be opened when the time comes. 

I felt the Revelation of Jesus Christ to be 
irresistibly true, as I watched the vain struggle 


for peace or happiness without it. How talent 
and perception of the Beautiful completely failed. 
Also, how entirely alone each soul must strive to 
be with God. She said, almost scornfully, she could 
not believe Baptism could give it ; I echoed the 
same. Those words had renewed meaning to me, 
" The wind bloweth where it listeth." I felt, 
in those first weeks of knowing her, such an 
earnest truth-seeking spirit must find its rest in 
Him. During the last fortnight of her life, faith 
and hope seemed to fail. I felt I must know she 
had it ere I could ever again hope for peace. What 
gratitude ought to be mine, as I think the know- 
ledge of that last night might have been denied 
me. She really turned to Him as her " Mediator 
and Redeemer," and pleaded His own promise, 
" Where two or three are gathered together," 
with her conclusion, "Now He must hear us, 
because it is His own Word." 

I had seen her four days before, and saw and felt 
what a different expression was in her large blue 
eyes, as she affectionately and, as I thought, 
gratefully looked at me. I felt I also had confessed 
Christ more than I had ever done, urged on by 
the feeling I had not spoken of Him as early or as 
fully as I might. Now there is the poor mother, 
who wishes to remain on at Cannes. 

Now, before the clock strikes midnight, I must 
stop. It seems a strange coincidence that in my 
Daily Light this morning, and from what our 
Bishop in St. Paul's has sent to the other sisters, 


there comes the old, yet ever new and necessary 
call, to yield ourselves body, soul, and spirit to God. 
May He grant to me more faith, deeper, intenser 
love, and more knowledge. And now Mary and I 
have been saying we must look forward to our new, 
unknown life amidst the old haunts and familiar 

" I know not the way I am going, 
But well do I know my guide ; 
With a childlike trust, I give my hand 
To the mighty Friend hy my side. 
The only thing I say to Him 
As He takes it is : ' Hold it fast ' ; 
Suffer me not to lose my way, 
And bring me Home at last." 

The friendship with Frances Jarvis and her mother 
was one of the first things to call into expression the 
missionary spirit, which was to be the key-note of 
her future life. They were, like herself, strangers 
in a strange land, and there is no record how she 
became acquainted with their lives. Frances had 
probably come in search of health, and Lady Victoria 
may have found her at the " Asile." The character 
and education of the young girl struck her intensely, 
and it was her first contact with the agnostic tone 
in the region of spiritual belief. 

Her own experiences were such as to make her an 
ardent believer in the profession of the belief in a 
living Saviour, and she had the note of the true 
missionary, a hunger for the souls of mankind. 

Her natural bent was for the far mission fields of 
the Church, and her wistful gaze was often turned 


in that direction. Her own desire to render personal 
service was behind all her deep and lifelong interest 
in foreign missions, and she never understood reluc- 
tance on the part of those who seemed fitted for that 
particular task in the vineyard, in not coming 

When her diaries record " rebellions and storms " 
in her inner life, it was mostly when she felt her 
bodily conditions limited the scope of her service. 
She was a born traveller ; at one time she thought 
it right to contemplate going out to India with her 
brother. When her father allowed her to consider 
the scheme a possible one, she writes : "It was not 
all self-denial. I have a passion for seeing new 
countries, and have long had a dream of Zenana 

She was a fearless traveller, and would have gone 
through discomforts in foreign lands, as hardily as 
she encountered the discomforts of crossing her native 
seas. There was no greater rest to her than to feel 
that " duty " led her to go abroad. She prepared 
for a winter in Rome or Geneva, or a journey to see 
an old friend in Brussels, and she went off to survey 
Kaiserwerth and its deaconesses with much less fuss 
than many people make in a journey from London to 

When the news of Lord Colin's illness came, she 
writes of that event : — 

As I was preparing to go to him, the telegram 
to say all was over arrived. 


In October I was with the Macmillans at Green- 
ock. He put me on board the boat for Iona. A 
week there, another at Bunessan, then here, to 
prove, as I believed, whether these islands, or 
farther afield, was to be, in future, my sphere. 

During this last week I had such a strong letter 
from Dr. Dykes, as to the former. It makes me 
wonder whether it is a " message." 

Probably it was in the same year that Dr. Charteris, 
who had long known of this desire, writes to her in 
an undated letter. 

Don't you think you should be made a deacon- 
ess, and get a Church commission, the Church of 
Scotland Deputy to the western portions of Scot- 
land ? That is my humble contribution for your 
consideration. You could be ordained in St. Giles 
or St. Cuthbert's, or anywhere you preferred, when 
here at Easter, of which you spoke. 

And, again, in a year when he knew her back at 
the work she had made so peculiarly her own, he 
writes, in cheer : — 

I had your short note, the shortest on record, 
yesterday. I think you are in low spirits, so 
I am writing this wee " sursum corda." You are 
probably working above your strength. Please 
remember that when we give what we have, 
the Lord makes it enough. He did not bid His 


disciples bake more loaves : would not even let 
them go to the villages for more. It is the blessing, 
not the amount of work, that tells. I always 
think the sower might have saved the seed that he 
wasted on the wayside and the shallow ground. 
He was in too big a hurry. I have always been 
a waster, so am now serving as a beacon to you, 
dear Highland maid. How fine and dear your 
father's salutation, " My wee seagull ! " 

Dr. Charteris again recurs to the hope of having 
her as a deaconess. " Have you any thoughts of 
going to that Conference ? It would be fine to have 
you as deaconess, or in prospect as such." The 
letter is annoted by Lady Victoria, " Only as guilds- 
woman ! " She knew, in her inmost heart, that her 
mission had been given to her, and that the double 
consecration of which she speaks had bound her to 
her father's people in the islands. 

Year by year she had visited Iona, and the brief 
chronicle of the daily life tells of landings on the sacred 
isle. " Walked to the cathedral, and sat long in it. 
Walked to my mother's cross ; " or sometimes the word 
is, " The others landed ; I sat looking at the cathe- 
dral." It was not the restored cathedral, for which 
she gave thanks before the close of her life. It was 
in the roofless choir, beside a window in the south 
transept looking to the East and across the Sound, 
that she saw the vision clearly, that her life and its 
gifts must be dedicated afresh to the loving service 
of " our people." 


It was probably about 1882 that she felt, within 
the sanctuary, this sudden light on her future life. 
" I remember her telling me," says Dr. Fleming in 
his memorial service, " how, long years ago, 
she was looking out of the ruined windows of 
Iona Cathedral, and it was there and then that 
the call came to her to dedicate her life to the 

There have been few vows made in that holy 
fane which were more faithfully kept in the spirit 
and in the letter, and when she was free to follow 
" the call," she obeyed in the same spirit that brought 
the saint of old to that spot which she said was 
the most sacred on earth, " next to the Holy 

The year 1879 contains two more entries in her 
book of meditations. Her life was too active to 
permit of more than two or three lines of a compressed 
notice of the daily round, but at longer intervals 
she wrote her garnered thoughts for the time that was 

Sunday, April 20th, 1879. 

First Sunday in London this year. Bells chiming 
— what memories they recall ! How difficult to 
take in that the mother, the centre round whom, 
this time last year, life revolved, is no more, and we 
can only serve her in carrying on work and life 
as she would have wished. I am laid up again, 
but these sofa-days ought to be very good for me 
in many ways. 


May 8th, 1879. 

G/s wedding-day. I cannot be there, owing to 
a heavy chest cold. It is a disappointment, but 
with me there are always two sides of the question 
on these public occasions ; and I know, if I use the 
time rightly, my spirit will be cooler and calmer 
for doing what it ought to do for him and his bride 
in such an hour — join in the censer of intercession ; 
and surely such prayers must prevail. I have found 
it hard lately to rise — life seems sometimes a dead 
level, and I am afraid has done so dreadfully to me 
of late. It seems so strange to-day not to hear 
her fervent " God bless you ! " 

This is the fourth wedding in the family from 
which I have been absent. I sometimes feel as if 
"the cloistered cell" has providentially been meant 
for me. I think and hope this quiet hour will be 
one of the milestones on my life's path. I do love 
these Holland Park trees, bursting into green, and, 
as I look at them this evening, with a peaceful, 
grey-blue sky, and think of all that has happened 
since this time last year, it seems as if it must be 
a dream. 

Reading this week the " Holy Life " has again 
echoed to me the key-note, " Harmony of our will 
and His will." 

During the years after her mother's death, Lord 
Shaftesbury became more than ever a comfort in 
the life of Lady Victoria. He was devoted, from her 
earliest childhood, to the Duchess, and had always 


been on intimate terms with the whole family. His 
youngest son was the godchild of his old friend, and, 
in writing to Lady Victoria, he says, " You are as 
dear to me as one of my own children." 

To more than one she spoke of the influence his 
character and mind had had on her young life, and 
when he died she wrote to Mrs. Campbell, Ach- 
nashie : — 

The death of Lord Shaftesbury is a dreadful one 
to me, for, besides the old, much-loved associations, 
he has been so much to me individually since my 
mother died, and many a time has he recalled, 
by his life as well as by his voice, her lofty ideas 
of love and duty ; but I do thank God for what He 
gave him to be to us, as to so many, and I know, 
if ever there was an occasion when we ought to 
join in that thanksgiving, it is in this, for his day's 
work was done. 

Sunday, Nov. 2nd, 1879. Invekabay. 

For the first time this year I feel I can count 
on being alone with the thoughts and memories, 
and these last seem just now wellnigh to overwhelm 
me. The now almost leafless trees. The group 
of firs and my " anniversary hill." The heavy 
clouds, with ever and anon bursts of sunshine. 
How it brings back to me those Sunday afternoons 
spent between my mother and dear old Kingie. 
This afternoon the longing to hear her voice once 
more has come over me, but I think God is teaching 


me to sympathise in their joy, for they are with 
Him ; and as the life of communion with Him 
goes on, and deepens, one feels that love which was 
lavished on us, and which now one feels at times 
as if one had no longer, is yet met in Him, who is 
daily pouring it out in larger, fuller measure. 

I have had such an echo of Cannes this morning, 
reading dear Dr. Hanna's " Measureless Love of 
Christ." I heard it first in that little chapel, and 
his teaching on the Atonement opened my eyes to 
so much. I do feel very thankful for that friend- 

To-morrow Mrs. Grant, our Biblewoman, comes. 
I hope God will prosper it. Sometimes I have felt 
almost too happy to take it in, when I have thought 
I have had the privilege of helping this. My father 
has been so good about it, and so begins another 

Bee. \Uh. Sunday evening. 1879. 

This has been a ceaseless wet day, and I have had 
a sense of oppression, mentally and, I fear, spiritu- 
ally. I have been thinking that perhaps there is 
too little of that intercommunion of thought and 
speech which ought to be between those who wish 
to love and serve Him ; and how far too apt one 
is rather to discuss plans and worries, and take 
thought for the morrow ; and yet, over and over 
again, we have been taught how vain this is, and 
how we may trust Him with that Future, which, 
indeed, at times presses on one with its own 


punishment, namely, with a sense of intolerable 
weight. I have been looking over the diary of 
this time last year, and how I ought to be filled 
with gratitude when I see how doubtful I was then 
whether I was to be raised up from that time of 
weakness and illness ! 

Dec. 2&tli. Last Sunday in 1879. 

I got to church this morning. We were all there 
except F. Mr. McKichan preached on the miracle 
of turning water into wine. 

This evening the wind is shrieking and howling 
and whistling. It seems to make every chord in 
one's being vibrate. I have been looking again at 
my landmark group of trees, and have been thinking 
much of the Past. The two who formed the 
Sunday afternoon care and watch have passed 
beyond the shadows. To-day has been more taken 
up than I like with planning and cares for the 
Future. How many causes have I for thankfulness 
this past year ? My dear F. safe and happy in her 
earthly life. Growing satisfaction and pleasure 
in little C. I have seen some work set going in 
the dear old place — clothing club and mothers' 
meeting every Thursday. Mrs. Grant much liked, but 
I know not yet whether she will continue with us. 

The work set agoing " in the dear old place " was 
to grow and increase, and be the training ground 
for herself for the same class of work, begun under 
more difficult circumstances in the distant islands. 


At Inveraray the town was the focus of her classes, 
and she had the approval and assistance of all her old 
friends, the ministers of the town. 

She started, first of all, the mothers' meeting and 
the clothing club. Her great aim was to draw all 
those capable of helping her into the work of organi- 
sation, and of influencing the women of the place. 
She had a strong feeling that the work ought 
not to depend solely upon her own presence. Her 
absences were necessarily frequent, and life, she 
said, was always uncertain. " Fellow-workers " she 
claimed everywhere ; some she found only eager 
for " a lead," and others she trained, who are still 
at work in the corner of the vineyard she pointed 
out to them as their own. 

No one who came under her system led idle lives. 
She never spared herself, and she never supposed 
anyone wished to be spared. Fitfully she remembered 
the frailty of poor human nature, and when she 
remembered she was full of consideration. Any 
" do-less-ness," or inertia, born of the western 
temperament, met with short shrift from her. 

By nature she had a temperament of nervous 
impatience. The check on her naturally vivacious 
energies caused by her disabilities was a constant 
source of irritation, and to have slow helpers around 
her tried her in a manner some found it hard to 

Near the end of her life, one who was with her 
made a jest on the patience she had shown under a 
small, but irritating trial. Her answer was in a 


serious tone, " I Lave learnt to be more patient." 
Only those who knew her well understood the signs 
that she was mastering the inclination towards 
impatience, with a daily watchfulness, which was 
seldom broken down. Those who worked with and 
for her had always the reward of her complete con- 
fidence, and she could touch no lives without trying 
to know their real inwardness, and to feel she had 
ministered in any way to their need was her greatest 
pleasure. To be associated with her works was to 
live in an atmosphere of cheerful energy. She never 
missed seeing the humours of a situation, and she 
loved to share the fun with all those who " knew the 
ropes." In every complication she was glad if she 
could get those " in the scrape " to see the laughable 
side, and she nearly always could discover one. 
It was easy to embarrass her by a whispered word 
on the humours of the crisis, and her agonised 
" don't " was the prelude to an uncontrollable 
attack of laughter, which she would struggle in vain 
to hide. " The sense of the ludicrous has saved us 
many a time," she would truly say, and it was a special 
gift given to help her spirit, apt to be careful and 
troubled over the perplexities and turmoils of life. 

The young loved her society as much as the old. 
The same alert sympathy which made her room, 
or the couch on which she lay, the central thought 
of all those who had news to give, or a trouble to 
unfold, or a good family joke to reveal, made her 
presence a welcome one in the midst of her meetings 
and classes, and among that band of women who, 


in many places, and under differing circumstances, 
were her friends and fellow-workers. 

Jan. Uh, 1880. Inveraray. 

My first Sunday this year spent away from 
church owing to a threatening return of cold. I felt 
I must take care, in view of being this week alone 
with my father, Libby, and Conny. Especially 
here, my Sundays spent in solitude seem to rest 
me more, and I think Divine things have appeared 
very real and present to me this morning. Particu- 
larly the thought of how emphatically it is said, 
" Good news, good will towards all men. All 
flesh shall see the salvation of God." Surely 
enough to make us feel that whatever mystery 
and perplexity with which we are brought in 
contact we may trust God with it. He cannot 
mock us by holding out the cup and then with- 
drawing it. 

I have been cheered at this opening of a new 
year by Mrs. Grant telling me she means to stay 
here for a year, at any rate. This seems to point 
to the work having a definite footing, which so far 
has begun well ; but there are many things which 
call one to the necessity of having the single eye 
as the one thing. "This one thing I do . " One thing 
is desired of the Lord. One thing is needful. 

Inveraray. 1880. 

To-day, with Mrs. Carmichael, Mrs. Macdonald, 
and Mrs. Grant, I began our first meeting at 


Kenmore. They wanted to join in January, but 
I did not think it right with all the " Housework " 
to pledge myself away for another day. Now, 
as Archie and Conny generally ride there is no 
obstacle, and I think we had better have it fort- 

Kenmore is a crofting district lying some five 
miles down Loch Fyne. It was prosperous at the 
time Lady Victoria began her meetings in it ; to-day 
it is true that — 

" The little crofts are falling, 
And fields are lying bare, 
And curlews calling, calling 
As the only creatures there. . . . 
The lads that lived in Kenmore 
Are long ago at rest." 

Sunday, March 14th, 1880. 

This last week has brought us news of the disso- 
lution of Parliament, and one wonders what will 
be the result. This winter to me has gone like a 
dream, and I cannot realise this is March. I am 
leaving with a deep sense of thankfulness to God 
for having permitted me to work a little for Him 
here. My father has written so kindly about it. 
The soup-kitchen these last weeks has been a 
great pleasure. I have felt something of the truth 
how one is helped if one seeks it in prayer. 

Have felt that text, " My Presence shall go with 
thee, and I will give thee rest," has been a stay 
to me to-day, when feeling a sense of burden and 


shrinking from the London hfe in spite of its many 
church privileges. 

The Deanery, Chester. Easter Eve, 1880. 

Here it is next to impossible to get a quiet hour, 
Mrs. Howson, the Dean, or the girls coming in to 
talk. It is a pleasant and a resting little episode. 

This afternoon I went into the cathedral and 
heard the chiming bells ; it seemed like " the King's 
arbour," and the music is an intense delight, but, 
as I had the cheek to tell the Dean, more and more 
do I feel I could not live in it entirely. I think you 
know how bitterly I feel the loneliness in these 
things at Inveraray. It does teach one its own 
lessons, which to me at least would have been 
harder to learn while in the midst of every external 
help. I think it has saved me from the temptation 
of resting in anything of the kind. I liked so much 
what you said in your last letter because it is so 
true. He does reveal Himself when we are feeling 
the lowest, the most needy, and then we experience 
the spiritual teaching of all these days which I love, 
and which are a help to me ; and I have so much 
in this deeper inner self to rejoice and give praise 
for to-morrow. I hope to be at His Table, and there 
have Communion in Him, with her with whom all 
these days are so associated. 

July llth, 1880. Argyll Lodge. 

This is my fourth Sunday away from church. 
Once more it seems to me as if I had been near the 


Borderland. Once more recognised how infinitely 
loving and tender the Good Shepherd is, and how 
He does uphold when all else fails. Now it seems as 
if I was coming back to life, and to begin a 
new chapter. " He hath spoken in the darkness." 
Surely I may leave with Him the burden of the 
Present as well as the Future. Sometimes I have 
shrunk back, feeling so unfit ; but may not one 
lesson have been to bring home once more the 
truth, " My grace is sufficient for thee." Oh, that 
one could learn more fully to abide in Him, the 
living and true Vine ! 

Oct. 6th, 1880. 

We have been nine together lately. 

St. Leonards-on-Sea. Dec. 31st, 1880. 

I sit down to write a few notes for my recollection 
of this strange, lonely time. Some feeling of rest 
and peace has come to me to-night after a week 
of special hurry and anxiety, causing me, alas, 
to feel the weakness of my own resolutions by the 
frequent failure of patience. 

I have been struck by E/s wish for me in this 
new year. So true, so knowing, and deeply tender 
in knowing what will be really best for me. "I 
wish you all He sees you will need of happiness 
and strength for His glory in the coming year." 
Now and then, amid the dense darkness, that 
thought of God's will being summed up in that He 
wishes, nay, longs for our sanctification, ought 


surely to breathe a deep calm into my wearied, 
anxious self, but it has seemed as if " All His waves 
and billows have gone over me." God grant my 
first and most fervent prayer to-night may be 
that in this time next year, if I am here, I may 
reflect more of His image than I have done in the 

Jan. 1st, 1881. 

I must write a few lines this first evening of the 
new year, on which I have felt as if God has given 
me new faith and patience. May He grant that it 
may last. He has showered upon me tokens of 
His love, shown in the love of those most dear to 
me. Such loving letters and cards from the sisters, 
telling me of the different entertainments. How 
I have longed to be with them ! Thank God, none 
of these thoughts disturbed my vigil last night. 
I felt as if He were giving me the spirit of grace and 
supplication, and the Word which seemed to me 
was, " This one thing I do " — if the one thing be 
in reality and truth our one and sole aim, then 
everything will become straight. 

How much more I ought to live in inter- 
cessory prayer and in meditation ! I longed for 
some music. Some bells, but there was only one 
to be heard, a sort of tolling sound. I liked to 
think of the thousands who were meeting in His 
name to see out the old and welcome the new 
year in. 

It was best for me to be alone : such moments 


have the worth of years. Deeper, more fervent love 
to Him will be one of my chief aims during this 
year into which we have entered. It was when the 
disciples " feared as they entered into the cloud " 
that they heard the voice of God telling them it was 
His beloved Son, to whom they were to give heed. 
Let us seek, in trying and dark hours, to hear what 
He will have to say to us, even though He speaks 
in the darkness. We may have to tell it out in the 

Sunday, March 20th, 1881. Aegyll Lodge. 

It has been with a feeling of surprise I sit down 
to write a few lines in this fragmentary journal, 
as I see the length of time which has elapsed since 
my doing so. More than three months ! To- 
morrow spring begins, and never before has it 
awakened within me such a sense of the Resurrec- 
tion life, after the long, cold, dark, and anxious 

In January, after my return to London, I was 
struck down with an attack much like the one I 
had at Cannes, and for four or five weeks I led a 
complete invalid life. One night I wondered 
whether it was to be my last. Accompanied with 
a feeling of fear, which, in view of death, distressed 
me ; for surely if we are trusting Him simply and 
implicitly it will be robbed of its terrors. I think 
a sense of the importance and supremacy of the 
home life and its duties were given to me at this 
time, and such a feeling of rest and gratitude 


when the sisters returned from Scotland. The 
separation from C. had been especially trying. 

I came back to ordinary life very slowly, and I 
had much work to overtake. I was able to be at 
the second of Dr. Saphir's Thursday lectures ; 
they have, indeed, been a source of great delight — I 
hope profit — for it is a " talent," surely, for which 
I shall have to give an account. 

I have, thank God, had a glimpse into the 
blessedness and peace of "casting the burden" 
and going on steadily, and even joyously, with the 
work of the day. The week which has just gone 
has been a very bright one, as far as outside 
pleasures go, beginning with a long visit and talk 
with Dr. Saphir. I had an interesting and quiet 
time at the Infirmary. I also have heard Mr. 
Peploe with Ina Dent. Such strong, steady, 
bright, shining faith. A " Greatheart " like Dr. 

I have also met Mr. Meyer, the German Jew 
missionary. He was intensely interesting, telling 
me of his own conversion. 


Argyll Lodge, July 25th, 1881. 
My dearest F., 

I must not turn in to-night without sharing 
with you, in some measure at least, the events of 
a day through which I thought of you and wished 
you were with us. It was a most touching sight, 
and in many ways, I am quite sure, it will stand out 



as unique, however long one may live. And then 
to us individually — exactly three years and two 
months since we went there to worship together, 
little thinking what our next service would be — 
it all had its special associations. Evey, Mary, 
and I started about the same time as Papa ; he 
to the Jerusalem Chamber, while we went round to 
pick up Sophy, and by sending at the Deanery door 
for one of the Baillie boys, and, farther on, by the 
assistance of Algernon Stanley, we were admitted 
at once to Henry VIFs chapel, and there waited 
three-quarters of an hour, hearing faintly, in the 
distance, the organ and the singing. We had some 
utter quiet for one's ain thochts, with perhaps a 
greatei yearning to know more of the Resurrection 
power and life than one had ever had. Shortly 
before the procession filed in, some sunlight struck 
upon the old banners ; it was very pretty. 

The dear little Dean ! One could with difficulty 
take in that all that was left here of him was in 
the small coffin, carried past, as he would have 
wished, by men of different denominations. Dr. 
Story looked very fine, then came the long train of 
family mourners, servants included. First of all, 
the choristers with the clergy, then the Prince of 
Wales, and the representatives of the other members 
of the Royal Family. Then the crowds and crowds 
of men, of Cabinet Council and Parliament, dear 
old Lord Shaftesbury very prominent. The Bishop 
of Lichfield, Dean of Chester ; indeed, wherever 
one looked some familiar face, bringing back such 


chapters, greeted one. At the most unexpected 
moment little Henry de Bunsen looked up and some- 
how one knew that he was thinking of that last 
funeral, when we were together away amongst the 

A great life has gone out of London, as well as 
another link from that chain which binds one to 
the Past. How little we realised this time three 
and a half years ago what a complete uprooting 
we were to undergo ! Papa looked very white and 
ill ; I was glad when it was over for him. 

Lord Salisbury was close to Papa ; " keeping 
him in order," I suppose ! 

Your very affectionate, 

Victoria Campbell. 

Feb. 12th, 1882. Inveraray. 

These two snowdrops were picked to-day as 
I returned from a visit to the Kellys. She followed 
me out, and we sat upon a seat by the river, talking 
of the possibility of her joining the Lord's Table 
this coming April Communion. I felt what a 
real help and joy it would be to me in looking back 
upon this winter, with all its groping and stumbling, 
if I had let some ray of light fall upon a weary 

In the afternoon of this Saturday came Lord 
Shaftesbury, bringing such a waft of old days. 
" My last counsel to you, my dear, is to keep the 
letter of Holy Writ ; the moment we go beyond this 
we lose ourselves." Such were some of his words. 


It is difficult to express one's feeling of love and 
veneration for that old veteran in God's service. 
What a life of labour and love his has been ! 

July 29th, 1882. Argyll Lodge. 

The month of May, already so associated to us 
with death and separation, was singularly marked 
this year by the deaths of Lord Frederick Caven- 
dish, Dr. Hanna, and dear Dr. John Brown. For 
all, how one can enter into the Thanksgiving for 
all those departed in His faith and fear. What a 
world of memories it brought over one ! Freddy, 
who with his wife had been so much to us all at the 
time of my mother's death in their house. His 
having been found on his knees in the drawing- 
room, was a testimony as to where he sought for 
refuge. One of the things which has spoken most 
strongly to one of the vital truth of Christianity 
has been the way in which his widow is bearing the 
trial. It is now a month since I spent an hour with 
her, and I shall never forget the brave, patient, 
tender, self-forgetting spirit. 

Then " Rab," who has shed upon our path of 
late years a peculiar light, so bound up with my 
mother's days, so full of affectionate sympathy ; 
but for him and Dr. Hanna one felt one dare not 
grieve. One could see in their case the work was 
done, and with both, though in different ways, 
one felt rising into the joy it must have been " to 
know even as they were known." Dr. Hanna was 
a true messenger of God to me during my suffering 


time at Cannes. The memory has remained with 
me of his key-note being an intense realisation 
of the Love of God, and of our Salvation through 

God has given me peculiar and frequent privileges 
this season in meeting with His people and hearing 
the preaching of the Word. 

My Sundays in Halkin Street under Dr. Saphir 
have been a great pleasure, and one for which I 
know I ought to and must give an account. 

Then Dr. Dykes, who always seems to me to 
answer to " Greatheart," I have heard several 
times. One fitted to guide and strengthen when 
faint and falling by the way. 

Such a messenger as he was, especially one 
evening, when one felt more inclined than ever to 
give up the fight. I do not think things have ever 
been quite the same since. 

Then my Conference days at Mildmay were a 
great blessing. It brought before me the unity, 
love, and fervour of God's children towards Him, 
and towards each other. 

Mary's marriage to Edward Glyn has been a 
source of much gratitude, and has brought real 
sunshine into the home. 

Jan. 4th, 1885. Inveraeay. 

It is again on the Lord's Day I enter a few lines, 
for how can I go over the ground of a year and 
three-quarters ? How much have I to look 
back upon ! On the first Sunday in 1885 may I 


not put my seal, " He faileth never," although I 
feel the effects of that illness still, I am much 
better, and have never missed one clothing club 
meeting in town since they began in November, 
and only two at Kenmore. 

The close of the year 1884 saw a large assemblage 
in the Newton Hall of clothing club members, 
and ladies who chiefly contributed the things for 
a large social tea ; and Mr. Meikle, Mr. McKichan, 
and Mr. Rose all took part. The Hall beautifully 
decorated, and several of the ladies sitting down 
at the tables pouring out tea ; so it was more like 
a family gathering. I felt that surely God had 
granted some of our prayers as we saw the happy 
faces, others, again, bowed down with anxiety or 
sorrow. All within hearing of the fervent prayer 
and exhortation of Mr. Meikle. Surely " the token 
for good," I have longed for God to give me this 
winter, as to whether it is His work. During the 
past year, I have had it put before me from two 
very different quarters, as to whether my life 
among these people was likely to be long continued. 
God knows, but Mr. M'Pherson's text this morning, 
as I was alone in church, " My grace is sufficient 
for thee," may suffice me. 

Oct. 24th, 1885. Edinburgh. 

On returning to Inveraray it was pressed upon 
me to go forward and see whether a Bible -class 
could not be formed. Mrs. Grant, telling me 
that some young girls, going to her for prayer and 


reading, had stopped owing to being " twitted/' 
put a spur to what had been a long, slumbering 
desire. I told the two ministers, and began about 
the second week in September. It has gone on 
increasing in numbers every week, and they seem 
really interested. How much it helps me, I can 
never say, in trying to make things plain to others ; 
they are certainly made plainer to oneself. The 
subject is the " Life of Moses." 

During these weeks there has been the heavy 
trial of losing Lord Shaftesbury. The Goschens 
and others were in the house at the time, and one 
felt as if one had to go about with an unspeakable 
burden upon one. I think I did chiefly feel grati- 
tude to God for giving me through him, during 
those last years, such counsel and friendship. 

I am finishing this on October 25th. I have once 
more joined in the Communion at St. Cuthbert's. 
Mr. Williamson preached upon " Christ Crucified." 
It was a great help. 

I must mention what gave me deep joy before 
leaving Inveraray. Those two in whom I was 
so deeply interested had gone forward to the 
Communion, and I was able to speak more freely 
about it than ever before to many. 

Once more have I pledged myself in the beloved 
City. On the 27th, the day we return to Inveraray, 
it will be seventeen years since I came here with Dot. 

Feb. 23rd, 1886. Inveraray. 

I have seen all I can of the girls attending my 


Bible-class. I think we shall end with about 
fifty-eight. I feel very thankful to have so many 
enrolled in a society which is lifting up its standard 
for purity and uprightness in thought, word, and 

I have found many among the girls very nice, 
and such as we can count upon for being helps 
to others. Surely, then, I ought to conclude with 
"Bless the Lord, my soul, and forget not all 
His benefits." 

April 23rd, 1886. Good Friday. Argyll Lodge. 
Only a few lines can I write to-night before 
joining Evey, Jamie, and Conny. It has been a 
day blessed with private and personal associations 
to me. Eight years ago on Good Friday I spent 
in the Parish Church at the three-hour service, 
and F. spoke to me at night of the prospect which 
had opened for her. All rushed back to me as I 
saw her in church this morning with her bairn. 
The day is a marked one in my spiritual history, 
for I think it was only that day, eight years ago, 
I entered into the meaning, " Christ for us." 

On Easter Sunday, April 23rd, 1886, Lady Victoria 
writes that she has only been able for the morning 
service at Dr. Saphir's. 

It has been a blessed day ; he, as few others, 
seem to bring one close to the feet of the Messiah. 
I can never thank God enough for his ministry. 


It brings me back to that Easter of 1875 when I 
was left here with Kingie, and so first came into 
contact with him. All through her spiritual 
struggle, and my darkness, the words were ringing 
in my heart, " At eventide it shall be light." It 
was most assuredly with her, and so, too, may I 
say at the close of another Easter Sunday is it 
with me. 

The longing increases to be more directly in the 
so-called "Mission Field." It came to me with a 
deep sense of rest this evening, when reading the 
Epistle to the Ephesians, that if God has prepared 
the ways that we should walk in them. 

The burden of thought for this ought to be laid 
aside, for where and when He needs me for other 
work He will make it plain. 

I would do better to ask whether I have the 
" perfect heart " in the present sphere, and whether 
my wish for another does not lie in great measure 
in the sense of difficulty. 

Home ties, she says, " are getting fainter and 
fainter," and with the marriage of Lady Evelyn 
the last of the sisterhood and of "us four " had left 
the home. The wrench was a severe one, but in this, 
and in other changes, she read, more and more 
clearly, that the claims upon her were lessening, 
and that wider fields were opening for her. 

She had learnt what were her powers. She had 
tried to teach, and had an answer in the full and 
warm-hearted classes which gathered round her. 


Her life had been enriched by much friendship and 
social intercourse within and without her home ; 
and the next record of her life is that of work, where 
her heart had long been set, among the people of 
the islands and highlands of Argyll. 


"and they waken'd the men of the 
wild tiree " 

" Sunlit isles of sapphire seas ! 
Far, ethereal forms, 
Can ye be the Hebrides ? 
Are ye nursed in storms 1 

Days that breathe of Paradise ! 
Are ye glimpses given, 
As if earth, with thinner skies, 
Closer lay to Heaven 1 " 

There are many who will read this Life, who have 
never seen the Hebridean Isles. They picture them 
as remote, surrounded by seas, as stormy and grey as 
the mists and clouds with which their imagination 
enshrouds them. 

The islanders they see in hovels, dim with peat 
reek, their sodden crops green and unripe, their 
fishing-boats tossed on treacherous and uncertain 
seas, their language an unknown tongue, their religion 
as sombre, and their Church government as full of 
strife and division as were the days of tribal warfare. 
It would be as reasonable to form an estimate of the 
fertility of Holland from the top of Mont Blanc, 
as it is to describe the Hebrides from a passing visit 
to the congested districts of the Lewes, or some remote 
corner of Skye. 

J 164 


Standing on the island of Tiree the nearest mountain 
visible is Ben Mohr, in Mull. The native of Tiree may- 
be basking in sunlight for days together, " while the 
winds Ben Mohr has harboured, burst in thunder 
from their home." The grey mists may sweep in 
trailing torrents, blotting out for the time the vision 
of all the islands round, and Tiree may experience only 
a passing scud. 

On the other hand, it has its own vaporous storms, 
when earth, air, and sea seem composed of water ; 
when not a rock, or tree, breaks the force of the wild 
west gale, which like a fury sweeps everything before 
it, and then, spent with its own gigantic efforts, 
drops to sleep like a tired child. 

Tiree was the island where Lady Victoria spent 
most of her time, and it was the place where she 
ultimately made a settled home ; and it will not be 
without interest to quote the words in which the late 
Duke of Argyll describes his visits to the island, 
first in 1847, and again in the year 1850. 

Soon after my succession to the family estates 
in 1847 a friend of mine, who was a great agricul- 
tural improver, and an excellent judge of the value 
of land, offered to buy the island of Tiree at a price 
which represented an income of £1400 a year. 
As my returns from the estate were then nil, this 
offer was pecuniarily a great temptation. I declined 
the transaction, influenced largely by my reluc- 
tance to diminish still further the family estates, 
and also by my liking for the island ever since I 


had seen its charms in the summer of 1840, when 
I was enchanted with its wealth of sky and sea, 
its long, beautiful bays of pure white sand, its rich 
pastures, its air ringing with the song of sky- 
larks, its multitude of corncrakes, whose curious 
cry I have always loved, and its rocks full of 
shining crystals of felspar and hornblende. 

Besides all this, I felt sure the new proprietor 
would deal rather too summarily with the excessive 
population. I considered that, although, in a 
sense, that over-population was the fault of the 
people, it was also, in a sense, the fault of my 
predecessors. If they had kept watch, and had 
fully enforced the rules of the estate against sub- 
division, the evil would not have arisen. 

There was not only no tree, but there was not 
even a bush upon the island. It was absolutely bare 
and open to the sky, and to every wind that blew. 

On the other hand, there was an abundance 
and exuberance of the richest meadow grasses, 
a corresponding abundance of that curious and 
charming bird, the landrail, or corncrake, and such 
a population of skylarks that the air was always 
ringing with their music. 

All the tenantry, and most of the cottagers, 
dwelt in comfortable houses of a type which is 
almost peculiar to that island. The walls were 
low, and always double. The roof was of neat 
straw thatch, somewhat beehive in shape, and rest- 


ing always on the innermost of the two walls, 
so that the space between the two walls, being 
rilled with sand, made a sort of broad ledge, or 
bastion, round the roof. On this ledge the women 
and children, and often the men, sat or stood in 
groups to see us as we passed. We were everywhere 
received with the greatest enthusiasm. 

It was a large and teeming population, approach- 
ing at that time to nearly five thousand souls. 
They were well-clad, cheerful, and evidently happy, 
as yet untainted by the passions of the demagogue, 
and the ignorance of fools. 

As there was nothing to interest me much in 
the session of 1850, my wife and I determined to 
spend some of the midsummer weeks in visiting 
my island estates in the Hebrides, and particularly 
Tiree, which had been the source of so much 
anxiety ever since 1846, and where the work of 
reform was still going on to such an extent that the 
whole rental of the estate was absorbed. Accor- 
dingly, we hired a steamer and made our way 
to that lovely island. The only house we could 
inhabit was one used by the island factor. It was 
in the singular position of being built on a pro- 
montory projecting into a small and sheltered lake, 
at some distance from the sea. I do not doubt that 
this was a traditional site where a crannog, or 
lake-dwelling had once existed, and that its con- 
nection with the shores of the lake had been effected 
by subsequent filling in of the isolating channel. 


A large part of the island of Tiree is not raised 
50 feet above the waves. But all the more com- 
pletely are we delivered over to the two great 
dominions of the ocean and of the sky, with just 
enough of earth to indicate the relation of both 
to its abundance of life and joy. The sea comes in 
on every variety of beach, but chiefly on great 
curved bays of pure white sand ; sometimes in 
the gentlest ripple, sometimes in rollers which are 
magnificent. The grass pastures are rich in clover, 
and full of larks. The skies in the evening are often 
gorgeous beyond description ; the clouds imitating 
sometimes towers and battlements, and even 
mountain ranges, so solid, apparently, that I have 
seen strangers convinced of their substantiality. 
Much of the glory of the sky, and of the long after- 
glow which succeeds the sunset, and in that 
latitude " lies in heaven half the night," was re- 
flected in the little loch underneath our windows ; 
whilst terns and plovers of various species came 
to roost on the boulder-stones which were above 
the water. Coots and water-hens floated among the 
reeds, busy with their peaceful quest of water- 

My enjoyment in this peculiar scenery was 
greatly enhanced by seeing the happy effects upon 
the people of the policy which I had entered upon 
four years ago. The emigration of several hundreds 
of half-starving tenants, and the annexation of their 
wretched little possessions to those held by their 
more capable neighbours, together with systematic 


draining of large areas of land, were measures 
which were already bearing most satisfactory 
fruit. The interest chargeable on capital laid out 
on these improvements seemed to be met with 
ease out of increased produce, and other tenants 
were eager to have their land drained on the same 
terms. The people throughout the island were 
most cordial in the reception they gave us, for as 
yet the "Epoch of the Fools" was far away, 
when they were to be taught that every power, 
which had been exercised by me and my ancestors 
for their benefit, was a power which we never ought 
to have possessed. 

Thus was the island described by the Duke, re- 
calling near the end of his life his two early visits 
to this outermost of the lands he possessed. He does 
not note in his reminiscences the extraordinary 
storm which burst over the island, during the time 
he and the Duchess stayed in Island House. It was 
August, and not the season for lasting tempests. 
This one was preluded by a phenomenal fall of the 
barometer, and raged with such severity that the 
party were storm-stayed for a considerable period. 
It gave the Duchess a sense of insecurity. The possi- 
bility of being again detained from her family on 
the mainland prevented her visiting the island, till 
in later years the yacht " Columba " took her from 
the safe harbours of Bunessan and Tobermory, to 
lie for a few hours in Gott Bay. 

The Duke's interest in the improvement of the 


land and of the people never relaxed, however distant 
he might be. He knew the history and conditions of 
the crofter population. He had seen the island at its 
worst, had witnessed famine, and had helped to 
combat it. He had seen a low state of living in the 
houses, and an ignorant tillage of the soil raised and 
improved. Rents had gone back into the land, and 
there had been peace and prosperity where there had 
been misery and ignorance. 

Then arose, what the Duke alludes to with tren- 
chant severity as " The Epoch of the Fools," when 
mercenary agitators went to and fro preaching a 
gospel which had for its motto, " Blessed is he who 
removes his neighbour's landmark." 

Long ago, the agitation in Tiree has died the death 
it deserves. A melancholy cairn, erected to himself 
by the chief agitator, alone marks the days of the 
Land League and its folly. But such " epochs " 
make history, and no country is the same where, 
even for a season, lawlessness and disorder have 
obtained the upper hand. 

There were, doubtless, mistakes on both sides. 
The Celtic temperament is peculiarly susceptible to 
personal influence, and it is sensitive to a fault where 
honest pride is wounded. 

The Duke could never forget the misrepresentation 
and injustice which his life's work had received. 
It would have been better had he gone among the 
people of his own race, and met the lies of the paid 
agitator with the words of ringing truth, as he alone 
knew how to utter them. The work was less em- 


[If. &■ J. Stuart. 



ciently done by what his daughter called " the middle- 
men," and by the arrival of the soldiers. Their chief 
occupation was assisting the islanders with their 
harvest, while the officers were the pioneers who laid 
out the first of the golf courses, destined to be famous 
in the annals of first-class golf. It would be useless 
to revive the story of the agitation. It has been 
repeated in other islands, even though the Crofter Act 
has changed many of the conditions. It will be re- 
peated again, as long as any man ignores economic 
laws, and the change which has passed over the con- 
ditions of rural life. 

It was during this " epoch " that Lady Victoria's 
mind was becoming more and more concentrated 
where there was most trouble, for such was ever the 
place whereunto she felt called. 

Living at Inveraray in the winter of 1884 she 
entered in the diary brief but pregnant notices of the 
events which made it so dark and troubled a season 
for those who were beside the Duke. In August, 
during the yachting cruise, she says at the end of 
one of her weeks : " Another possible opening put 
before me." 

In the beginning of December she writes : " Heard 
of crofters seizing land in Tiree." 

Dec. 31st. 

The crofter agitation is our great trial. 

The year closes with the happy record of her work 
at Inveraray. 


Yesterday we had a delightful clothing club 
social tea. Quite sixty, I think, sat down to it, 
and the spirit so hearty. I feel very happy about 

The year 1885 saw no improvement in the agita- 
tion, and the Duke addressed a letter to his people. 
It contains his reasons for seeking the forces of law 
and order, and the letter never received any answer 
or denial of the facts which he put before the 
crofters. In all the evidence given before the various 
Commissions (" Land/ 5 and others), and in subse- 
quent inquiries, not a tittle of evidence could be found 
to prove one act of injustice or mismanagement on 
the estate over an extended period of years. 

Crofters of Tyree, 

With great sorrow and extreme reluctance I 
have been at last compelled to take legal steps to 
enforce law, justice, and common honesty against 
a few of your number. 

For more than forty years my relations with you 
have been not only most peaceful and friendly, 
but, more than this, they have been marked by 
special cordiality. On all my visits, at intervals, 
to the island, and to your cottages, I have felt the 
evidence of an old affection, and I have returned 
it in helping and rejoicing over the steady and 
manifest improvement in your condition. 

Only within the last three or four years has 
there been any change on the part of any of you, 


and as there lias been no change in my system of 
management, which was eminently favourable to 
you, and as agricultural distress had not, till last 
year, affected the kind of produce you depend 
upon, I had no doubt from the first, and I have no 
doubt now, that the beginnings of lawlessness in 
the island have been due entirely to the instigation 
of outsiders. But these instigations have been of 
the worst character, and have led to consequences 
which are shocking to every sense of justice, and 
in some cases to every manly feeling. My infor- 
mation comes from individual members of your 
own body, as well as from the public knowledge 
of facts notorious in the island. Many amongst 
you who are most deserving have suffered most. 
I will mention a few cases. 

Three years ago the neglect of kitchen or vege- 
table gardens — too common all over the highlands 
— having attracted my attention, I gave notice 
in Tyree, as well as in Mull, that I would give a 
prize of £10 to the crofter who would enclose, 
dig, and plant, the best vegetable garden in the 
island. One of your number, who is a widow, 
wished to compete for this prize. She began the 
necessary work, whereupon intimations were made 
to her by some members of the secret society 
which tyrannises the island that she would not be 
allowed to do so, and that any enclosure she might 
make in the day would be pulled down in the night. 
Being a lone and unprotected widow she was 
intimidated by this threat. Another of your 


number, being a strong man and of independent 
character, resisted intimidation, and got the prize. 
But the poor widow was deprived of her freedom, 
and of her right to the possible reward of her own 
labour and intelligence. 

Another widow, whose industry and thrift have 
enabled her to educate her son successfully for the 
ministry of the Church, in which he is now a highly 
respected pastor, has had her little croft invaded 
by the son of one of your number, who, not being 
allowed, I suppose, by his father to erect a new 
house on his croft, has seized upon a portion of the 
little possession of a defenceless woman, and has 
erected a house upon it, in defiance of her will, 
and to her serious damage and inconvenience. 

In a third case, another crofter, also a poor 
widow, has lately had a number of cattle turned 
into her croft, and she dare not drive them off. 
Her pasture is consumed by others who have no 
right to it, and her enjoyment of her possession 
is destroyed. 

These outrages are condemned, I have no doubt, 
by the great majority of you. But you don't 
rebuke them, or resist them openly. They have 
been followed in consequence by other outrages, 
which imply the sympathy and complicity of a 
larger number of persons, and prove the lawless 
and growing tyranny which you have allowed to 
be established among you. The farm, or township, 
of Sandaig is held by crofters, who are among the 
most respectable and industrious of all my tenants 


in Tyree. The common pasture belonging to them 
has been violently seized by other crofters from the 
farm of Moss ; the dikes and fences have been 
broken down, and the tenants to whom this grazing 
belongs, as part of the farm, have been violently 
prevented from rebuilding or repairing them. 

Again, violence equally oppressive and unjust 
has been resorted to against another crofter, to 
whom I have let the little farm of Greenhill. This 
farm, having become vacant by the late tenant 
determining to leave the island, it was duly adver- 
tised, and it was open to any of you, individually 
or collectively, to offer for it. But only one of you 
did so, and no other proposal or offer of any kind 
came from any of you. I was willing to accept 
his offer, although at a greatly reduced rent, 
because it was a promotion to one of your number, 
who is, I believe, an industrious man. Accordingly 
I did accept it. He bought stock for his farm, 
and went, in due course, to take possession. He 
was met by a rabble of men, crofters and others, 
who threatened him with violence, and drove him 
away from the exercise of his legal rights. Those 
who committed this violence have not the least 
pretext in defence of their conduct. It has been 
an act of pure violence, of gross injustice, and of 
defiant lawlessness. 

It is my clear duty to defend all my tenants in 
the enjoyment of their lawful rights, whether they 
be defenceless women or individual men, or joint 
possessors in a township. 


I feel sure that most of you must detest this 
tyranny, but you have been wanting in the moral 
courage to combine and to resist it. Perhaps it has 
been partly my fault, in hoping so long against hope 
that a sense of honour and of justice would return 
without the help of the officers of the law. But 
I have been disappointed. The spirit of lawless- 
ness, as it generally does when not resisted, has been 
spreading. Violence has been getting worse and 
worse ; and I know a case in which a poor woman 
has declared that when asking payment of some 
small debt on an ordinary account, she has been 
rudely repelled by the debtor, who told her that 
there was now no law in the island of Tyree. 

I can no longer delay to procure for the peaceful 
and honest and law-abiding people of Tyree that 
protection of the law which is the right of every 
subject of the Queen. I call upon you all to help 
me in this duty. You know that none of the stock 
grievances of the agitators have ever affected you 
in Tyree. No deer forests have ever encroached 
upon you. There are no big mountain-sheep 
grazings, which have swallowed up your townships. 
On the contrary, your crofts were almost all given 
to you since the beginning of the present century, 
by my grandfather cutting up former large farms 
for the purpose. Since then I have helped you to 
recover from excessive subdivision, and you have 
largely profited in consequence. There is not one 
of you that does not enjoy now more land than you 
or your fathers had when I succeeded to the estate 


forty years ago. Many of you have double, treble, 
quadruple the extent you had then. Some of you 
have a great deal more. You may depend upon it 
that nothing that has happened lately will ever 
lead me to forget our old relations. I ask for any 
intelligible complaint. None has been addressed 
to me, except from a few individuals, which I have 
always answered. If rent is in question, which it 
has seldom been, the law now provides a remedy. 
But nothing can be done in the way of improvement 
where lawless violence prevails. It is my duty to 
protect all of you, as far as the law enables me to 
do so. But you must help to protect yourselves. 


The islands do not appear much in the diaries of 
this year. " Jan. 1st, 1885. Feeling very down. 
Bad news of Tiree." At the close of the first week 
of the year she says : " One of great disappointed 
sadness. But feel things brightening as week closes." 
On Feburary 5th she writes : " Terrible day of 
suspense ; heard before luncheon by telegram from 
Papa that Khartoum had fallen. Contradicted, but 
again asserted. Again, later in the week, concensus of 
opinion that Gordon lives. Feel very down about it all." 

The Duke had gone to Glasgow to make a political 
speech, and the news had not yet come in as to the 
fall of Khartoum. He said he could not have spoken 
at all had he heard the truth, and not believed, as 
all the country rejoiced in believing, that " at last " 
Gordon had been relieved. 


Feb. llth, 1885. 

The wishes "for a happy new year " have been 
all too soon drowned, and in exchange it may truly 
be said there has gone forth throughout Great 
Britain an exceeding great and bitter cry, fcr the 
dreadful news, now anticipated for a week, of the 
death of General Gordon. Stabbed — and the 
massacre of the garrison. We can hardly ever 
live through a more terrible time than this last 
week. One shrinks from the pain yet to come 
in the strife and war of words, for most assuredly 
will Gladstone's Government be bitterly arraigned. 
Only time can show how they will come out of it. 

Certain it is that to them must now fall the 
heaviest share of sorrow and disappointment when 
Gordon's rescue seemed so close at hand, and think- 
ing they have been in the wrong will not make it 
less hard to bear. 

The disappointment is a bitter one, and while won- 
dering why God (alas, one always asks " Why ? ") 
has seen fit to refuse such united supplications for 
the life of Gordon, one thought has come to me. 
Did He not see it would be best to take him from 
this year's close and lonely watch with Him, 
away from the temptation, glare, and pomp 
which most assuredly would have awaited him, 
and which one feels would have been so distasteful 
to him. 

1885 was still to be a time of quiet preparation. 
It would have been a good thing had the way 


*' been opened," and had " Nighean an Diuc " 
(the Duke's daughter) gone in among the people 
whose hearts she ever understood ; but she was 
too clear-sighted not to see the folly, and too up- 
right not to condemn the dishonest and disloyal 
methods of the Land Leaguers. 

It was not the moment to speak of her ambitions 
and resolutions, so, as usual, she bided her time, and 
set her hand to any work which was open to her. 

She began to learn shorthand, and the daily round 
is rilled with the record of practising this method, 
and learning Gaelic from any instructor she could 
impress into her service at Inveraray ; the Rev. Mr. 
McKichan was her teacher during this year, and Mrs. 
Grant was also beside her. 

The shorthand must have been dropped, as it 
was not used in any of her voluminous notebooks. 
Up to this date, and for some time later, her hand- 
writing was singularly legible. No pen ever traversed 
so much note-paper more rapidly, or was ever held 
for a longer time. 

She was peculiarly long-sighted, and only recog- 
nised very slowly that long-sighted people, with the 
passing years, need reading-glasses. She never had 
efficient help in this direction, or was too impatient 
to adjust what she had. A form of writer's cramp 
completed the illegibility of her later writing, and her 
letters were a puzzle to those even who received the 
most of her correspondence. 

She had a strong objection to being told her hand- 
writing was a difficulty, and to the end she thought 


the fault lay with the perverted sight of her readers, 
rather than the crooked ways of her letters. To one 
correspondent she sent a particularly badly written 
letter from a friend, with the endorsement, " Is this 
writing superior to mine % " It came back to her with 
the truthful answer : " Yes, except when you take 

Dr. Cameron Lees said that the deciphering of one 
of her letters lasted him just three weeks, when 
another would arrive. The rapidity of writing was 
only an index of the working of her mind. It re- 
quired an intimate knowledge of her line of thought, 
a firm grip of the central idea, a determination to 
wait for the verb, and to hold on to the noun, and not 
to be distracted by the parenthesis on parenthesis, 
to make out the full gist of her conversation. It was 
always an outpouring. " Listen ! " she would begin, 
and the hearer was launched into a sea of other folks' 
affairs. Before very long the listener would realise 
he or she had a part to play. " Go here, and go there ; 
write this, and see this person." She never spared 
trouble, never doubted others would be as interested, 
and would toil after the schemes of her brain. She 
was seldom disappointed. If the methods seemed 
cumbersome, the directions not always lucid, behind 
them lay the clear determination to achieve. 

The doctors in the great Infirmaries of the west 
knew her handwriting well. If they were able to 
grasp the name of the patient who had been sent into 
their wards, that was all they had to know. They 
learnt they need not spend time deciphering all the 


story written to them ; the behest to them was sure 
to be to cure and send back the patients she had 
ordered away for their good. They must not lose 
interest, and must do their utmost ; and the poorer 
the patients the more certain would be Lady Victoria's 
grip of their lives and destinies. 

In bed, late or early, the writing-pad and the busy 
pen were always at hand. Through the day a thought 
would enter her head : down it was written, and 
footmen and coachmen in London were kept on the 
go with special messages, which could wait for no 
postal hours. 

One of her sisters once went down to meet her as 
she was landed on a rough day on the boat-slip at 
Iona. She was carried out of the boat, and placed, 
enveloped in many soaked wraps, on the wet pier. 
" Don't speak to me till I have written these post 
cards, for the steamer to take with her," and oblivious 
of the rain that curled the paper and blackened her 
pencil strokes, the cards were written. If they were 
illegible, the recipients certainly never dared to say 
so, and always acted in faith when the missives 
reached them. It was no use to trust that she would 
forget. She kept no memorandum-book of her many 
engagements, for memory never failed her. When 
others forgot her errands, her commands, her com- 
missions, and her messages, it was a lapse she might, 
with an effort of patience, forgive ; but she could not 
understand the failure, and the sinner was given next 
time a written document " to make everything 


When the work of life is done, and the tools of the 
worker, with the accomplished tasks, are all on 
view, it is possible to consider the method and the 
achievement both together. In many cases the 
orderly mind goes with methods of order, the orga- 
nising brain finds other hands and feet ; labour- 
saving apparatuses are used, and the office of the 
brain is provided with appropriate pigeon-holes. 

Lady Victoria's own work was always on the lines 
of labour-giving, and not saving. She never had a 
trained secretary, and her many " girl friends and 
fags " only did a minute portion of clerical work. 
Her thoughts ran into the minutest detailed in- 
structions, and she left nothing to chance. 

Her work remains. Behind the classes, mothers' 
meetings, Y.W.C.A., and Guilds she had a " con- 
necting link." She saw them as bringing the women 
and girls of the highlands and islands into helpful 
touch with the fife and work of the churches, and, 
socially, she saw in their fellowships and protection 
a great stimulus to a higher moral standard among 
the younger women. Her clothing clubs were baits 
for the ingathering of her classes. When she had got 
the mothers she was in touch with the children, and 
that led to soup-kitchens in the winter, and greater 
facilities for procuring milk for the school children. 
The Duke's cows were instituted. There were battles 
royal, and much ink was spilt over imperial quarts and 
fair prices ; but the thing was accomplished, and has 
continued. How it was done is not easy to reconstruct 
from the voluminous notes and letters which still 


survive. The ink has faded, and only those who knew 
her, above all those who were driven forward in the 
whirlwind of her energy, her fellow-workers of all 
ages and sexes, and of every social degree, these alone 
hold the secret of her practical successes, and can 
read the handwriting aright. During a vacancy in 
one of the parishes, one of her family asked the late 
Dr. Mackenzie, of Kingussie, why he had not one of 
his " boys " ready to answer a call ? "I can't get 
anyone to go ; they are all afraid of Lady Victoria," 
was his feeble and laughing excuse. Every drone 
shunned her presence, and her energy was an almost 
irritating reproach to the slack in thought and deed. 

In the last year of her life, when physical strength 
was at a very low ebb, and her enterprises were 
limited, a member of her family went into her London 
lodging, after a day of somewhat strenuous exertion. 
She was saluted by the figure on the couch leaning 
forward eagerly, holding out a pamphlet, the face 
full of the spirit that quickeneth : " F., the moment 
you have done with this Commission, you must take 
up the white slave traffic." 

" To ride abroad redressing human wrong," was 
an instinct with her. Sometimes she rode full tilt, 
and the object did not gain from her impetuosity. 
Occasionally she was too strenuous to be tactful. 
To say her sense of time and place was always in 
proportion would be inaccurate, but when the whirl- 
wind had gone by, and the zeal which had over- 
driven fat cattle had died down, there remained the 
still small voice which showed the conscience that she 


had been right ; that there was a dark spot which 
needed light, there was error which needed the truth. 
No one could ever comfort themselves with the 
thought that they had done right to abide by the 
stuff, because they could not work in a sphere accord- 
ing to her directions. 

It is needless to say that, brought up in the atmo- 
sphere of her father's house, she was deeply interested 
in political life. The politics of Church and State 
were the staples of conversation in the home life. 
Nothing she enjoyed more than the privilege which 
gave her a seat in the gallery of the House of Lords, 
and many a weary climb did she undertake to that 
exalted region, after driving with her father down 
to the House. 

Naturally she followed the politics of the Duke, 
but her experience of life led her into many in- 
dependent opinions. She knew the land question 
in a manner which would have shamed the knowledge 
of most Members of Parliament, and she had pro- 
nounced views on the various Secretaries for Scotland, 
and their administration of that State department. 

She was an early supporter of the movement for 
the enfranchisement of women. Here, again, her 
convictions came to her through experience. She 
knew how imperfect were the laws which regulated 
the industrial lives of women, and she felt how little 
legislators had done to protect and guard the morals 
of girls and children ; and she had strong views on 
licensing and all temperance legislation. As usual, 
it was the desire to have the power to do something, 


to have the responsibility of the faiths that were in 
her, that made her desirous of having a vote. 

Those who cared for the suffrage, often wished that 
she had borne a platform testimony to this cause. 
She was not a platform speaker, and had a shrinking 
from women taking any such part in public. She 
saw its necessity, but while watching it in others, 
she never practised it herself. She addressed classes 
and meetings of women, but men, especially the 
clergy, were always sent out of the room when they 
had done their official duty. She spoke sitting, and 
spoke with great fluency and rapidity. She had no 
oratorical gift, and her addresses were delivered with 
less animation than her conversational gifts would 
lead one to expect. 

She had the greatest difficulty in mastering the 
nervous tension of public utterance. No conquest 
in her life-story was greater than the overcoming 
of the deep reserve which she inherited from her 
father on all that concerned the spiritual life. She 
saw that her work was to lie in bearing testimony, 
and the missionary spirit helped her in the line of 
this duty. To the very end it was a great strain 
on body and mind, and, to use her own frequent 
expression, " it took it out of her " to an extent 
she hid successfully from those who had gathered 
to hear her. 

All public notice and comment on her work she 
greatly disliked. She was upborne by the remem- 
brance and recognition of her friends. She leant 
heavily on human sympathy and love, and she was 


encompassed by it ; but the ways of the Press 
commentator, and the advertising of her name in 
papers, was almost comically abhorrent to her. Ex- 
cept in church magazines her name rarely appeared ; 
if she wrote to the papers it was usually with the 
signature, " Hebridean " ; and when the school of 
wood-carving, which she instituted in Tiree, formed 
the subject of a paragraph in the newspapers, she 
would have been happier had her name been left out 
of the notice. 

On the day of her death there soon appeared at the 
house a carrion-crow from the Press. He sought 
an interview with one of the family, and uttered the 
complaint : " We have nothing written up of her. 
Who was she, and what did she do ? ,: 

" You have paid her the only compliment it was in 
your power to pay her," was the answer he got, as 
the door was opened and shut upon his carcase. 

She was a real student of the newspapers, and to 
have them read aloud to her was the relaxation of 
the hour after dinner. The last interest she had in 
the region of politics was the side she took in the 
Fiscal controversy, being to the surprise of some of 
her people, " a convinced Tariff Reformer." 

Writing in 1903 to her sister, Lady Mary, she 
says : — 

What a time it is in politics ! I never remember 
such a time since you and I came down with Papa 
from London in 1881, when he had resigned after 
the Irish Land Bill proposals. All down the line 


posters up with " Cabinet Crisis." I can't help 
feeling it is a pity. From what little I have seen 
of agriculture, I have long felt with regard to 
Foreign competition, how are we to succeed ? I 
remember asking father, one of those last years, 
to explain how Free Trade could pay, as other 
countries had not taken to it, and being struck 
with his halting answer ! How one longs for a 
talk with him ! 

Her sense that protected emigration was the proper 
outlet for the surplus women of the country, brought 
her into close and vital touch with the dominions 
beyond the seas ; and consciously, or more probably 
unconsciously, she was a strong Imperialist, believing 
that for Great Britain there was yet very much 
land to be possessed for God and the Covenant of 

This period of her life cannot be passed over without 
some account of her life among the younger gener- 
ation. In her the mother-instinct was in overwhelm- 
ing proportion. Her parents had been the veritable 
roof -trees of her existence, and she clung to the 
memory of the one, and missed the mother-love 
from her surroundings to the end of her life. There 
were some of her friends for whom she had the feelings 
of a daughter : Mrs. Gordon, of Melrose, and Louisa, 
Duchess of Northumberland, had both a peculiar 
position in her affections. Writing of a visit to 
Albury in 1886, she speaks of the rest it had been. 
" The Duchess's strong counsel to be in no hurry to 


seek other work seemed like a message/' In 1890, 
she says : — 

On Dec. 18th the dear Duchess of Northumber- 
land " fell asleep." God only knows what a loss 
she is to me. For the last few years it has been 
such a deep, sacred friendship that I have seldom 
spoken of it. How can I thank God enough for 
her long, faithful sympathy ! Her one fear was that 
of doing or being anything contrary to God's will. 
" My darling, you will, I know, desire only to be 
all your Heavenly Father would have you. Put 
aside every other side-consideration, every motive 
but one : can I do this thing ? Is it God's will 
for me ? " Such are some of her sayings which seem 
wafted back to me. I could not have believed her 
loss could have given me such a sense of loneliness, 
such a reawakening to the pain of my mother's 
death, such a breaking of old ties. Three passages 
of Scripture will for ever be associated in my mind 
with her : 

" For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have 
replenished every sorrowful soul." 

" Upon this I awaked, and beheld ; and my sleep 
was sweet unto me." 

" And He shall sit as a Refiner." 

A visit to Mrs. Gordon, her " Mother President," at 
Melrose was to her always a time of refreshing, and 
in work and spiritual communion she received much 
help from her old friend. Mrs. Gordon writes to her 


when the islands were looming large on Lady Victoria's 
horizon : — 

My dearest V., 

Of course I give my blessing. I think on the 
whole, and I said so surely, did I not ? that this 
plan is decidedly the best. All I ever feared was 
the length of the dreary island winter for your 
delicate health. I comforted myself that you had 
many homes to go to, which you might cheer and 
bless for a time when this proved the case. I 
don't think that at all a suggestion of the enemy 
to keep you from other work ! The worst of the 
case is that one can't express all one feels in this 
change in life for you, my dear, dear child. The 
leadings you tell me of do look, indeed, as if the 
Lord pointed in that direction ; and, of course, 
for our work it is a very great boon. May He give 
you the Jabez blessing : " Oh that thou wouldest 
bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that 
Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou 
wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve 
me ! " A blessing, " indeed," fitted for dwellers 
by the sea. May you have your " coasts " enlarged, 
and your work prospered. There is as much work 
for God when we have quiet times of gathering 
honey and laying up manna for further use, as 
when engaged in full feverish activity. But I 
just trust you to your Guide and Teacher, for 
" who teacheth like Him 1 " 


A later undated letter, after island life had fully 
begun, says : — 

How thankful I am that the Lord preserved you 
in all that danger ! Oh, what a state the dear aunt 
would have been in ! Thank you dearly for keeping 
me up to your doings. I pray for you on Thursday 
mornings as well as Saturdays. I want to pray 
more and better for my friends. How long ago 
those strange, solemn Kinellan days do seem to 
me ! I am so touched at the thought of this 
anniversary day. The Lord had most loving 
purposes for you that day, and every day since ; 
and one can but thank Him for all He has done, 
and, prospectively, for all He is yet to do. 

Once more, and it is the last words from Mrs. 
Gordon's pen to her, Lady Victoria had written to 
tell her she was contemplating going to India. 

I do feel breathless, my dear child, but I can 
quite see it was right to make the proposal, and I 
do thank you for letting me know that I may plead 
for wisdom and guidance. I am sure you are on 
the right path, when you do it in utter submission 
to the earthly father first, taking that as the gauge 
of the Heavenly Father. May He be with you in 
the waiting-time. 

There was no need to bid her wait on the wishes 
of her father. His word was her law, and there was 


to her no happiness in any enterprise which had not 
his full approval. She was an old-fashioned believer 
in the fifth commandment, and thought it far too 
little observed by the youth of her day. 

The last year that she was in London she consented 
to accompany a member of her family to Westminster 
Chapel, to worship with the congregation and hear 
the preaching of Dr. Campbell Morgan. Unfortu- 
nately it was a day of special celebration, always 
destructive to good preaching. The subject was 
the place of children in the home and in the nation, 
and they were undoubtedly given the uppermost 
seat in the preacher's exhortation. Lady Victoria's 
companion instinctively felt that one hearer of the 
Word was not altogether satisfied. She was fully 
prepared for the comment, that there was too much 
about our duty to the children, and far too little said 
of the duty to the parent, and to parental authority. 

At this period " the eight grandchildren in the 
Castle," whom she records, were all coming to the 
years of discretion, and there were many who were 
elsewhere, or not yet of an age to enjoy her society. 
Lady Victoria loved her nephews and nieces, even 
when not brought closely into touch with their fives ; 
and where she had the run of their society her days 
were always planned so as to include an hour or more 
of their company. 

To many her room and her couch became, what 
the turret sitting-room was to the elder generation, 
who had gone to it to find "Aunt Dot. " Lady Victoria 
had always a great dislike to closing her door against 


any incursions from the young. She loved that they 
should seek that sympathy which was so keen and 
vivacious, and she enjoyed the comments, criticisms, 
and even the instruction which the young people 
were so ready to bestow on her. 

" So glad you are to have Lesley," she writes to 
Lady Mary. " Do let me know about her. One 
can't have a creature for six months, and not feel 
like a bit of her." That was an exact description 
of her relation to the young, whether of her own kin- 
dred or the many young girls she mothered. 

She made her mistakes with them. She trusted 
too little in the Providence which watches over 
" fules and bairns," and she worried herself and her 
adopted charges to a degree which was wasteful 
of time and energy. She never could understand 
that children would rather suffer any physical pain 
than be subjected to the mental torture of taking 
care of their health : " changing their feet," and being 
duly wrapped up. She was a curious mixture of 
being one with them in much, and yet straining the 
authority which parents are the first to know can 
only be best used when least is said. 

But, when the worst is said of her management, 
there remains the fact that children loved her, because 
her heart was in their keeping. She saw, with a 
quick eye, the sorrows which are so living and 
absorbing in the days of childhood. She wished for 
them all that had been denied to herself ; and if 
she knew the home life was happy, in that centre 
she came oftenest to rest. 


One of her nieces, Blanche Balfour, who was much 
in her society at Inveraray as a child, and who 
always sought her company in later years, has 
written some words of remembrance, and they are 
the reflection of what the young generation felt 
about her. 

"My recollections of Aunt V. begin when I was quite 
a small child, which is probably the reason why they 
are so mixed up with the rooms she lived in. When 
I think of her now it is never among the surroundings 
of later years, but always I see her lying on her 
sofa in her sitting-room at Inveraray, as she used to 
be when we came to spend the hour before luncheon 
with her. The sofa had a pattern of pink-and-white 
roses on a black ground, a thing entirely satisfying 
to the aesthetic taste of ten years old, and beside it 
was the little table heaped with books, and her 
writing-pad covered with sheets upon sheets of letter 
paper scrawled over with her marvellous untidy 
writing. That had always to be shoved on one side 
when she held out both her hands to us as we came in. 
Then — " Come away, dear little people," she always 
said, and we settled down beside her to thread 
bead necklaces for the Blantyre Mission. She was 
by way of reading aloud to us then, and sometimes 
did, but generally conversation was so absorbing 
that .it lasted all the hour. Then, as ever after- 
wards, she seemed the person of all others to whom 
one wished to tell everything one had been doing. 
I never met in anyone else quite the same intense 
keenness of interest in all that concerned one. It 


never failed. It was there for everyone whom she 
loved, it made talking to her one of the most exciting 
things in the world. I do not think I ever heard her 
say a dull thing, nor ever remember having been bored 
for a single second in her company. Such an intense 
force of vitality as hers was bound, of course, to fling 
itself sometimes against other people in a way that 
produced friction. I always loved Aunt V. intensely, 
sometimes I did more, I adored her. But often in 
those years she irritated me madly. But when I look 
back now at the incidents of life with her I see that 
the mistakes she made were simply the defects of 
her magnificent qualities. It was her grip on life, 
her power of living it, down to its very depths, 
that led her to make too much of things which 
she might have let slide. She was so devoured with 
the wish to do right, so conscious of the responsibility 
of influence which her older life might have on the 
young lives so near her heart, that sometimes 
she made one feel that she fussed. I have told 
her so. Even at such moments it was always possible 
to say anything to Aunt V., and I shall never forget 
the look of distress which came over her face, the 
earnest, perplexed gaze in her eyes. 

She had a boundless sympathy for young people, 
and delighted in their friendship. Probably one of 
my most delightful memories of her would surprise 
most of her friends very much. I used to go into her 
bedroom at Inveraray when she was dressing for 
dinner, and choose the jewellery that she was to put 
on that night. My recollection is that this amused her 


quite as much as it did me ; anyway, she always put 
on whatever I chose, and we used to spend immense 
pains in finding things that matched each other 
and went well with her gown. Then, as we turned 
over the things in the box, she used to tell me about 
their owners and their givers. The big, early Vic- 
torian lockets, which had hair inside them, or mono- 
grams twisted on their vast expanses, were 
foundations for family histories, which she made 
extraordinarily alive and interesting to a child's 
mind. We used to go into shouts of laughter together 
over all sorts of things. She laughed gloriously — 
helplessly and infectiously. 

All this was quite in my early days, before I was 
twelve. It was later on that Frank and I went to 
stay with her in Tiree. Though I was only there once, 
and that in August, which was not her busy time 
in the islands, with no programme of daily work of 
meetings and classes like her winters had, still, it 
happened that I had a chance of seeing something of 
what her life there was. When one had seen it, 
very little imagination was needed to realise what 
it might have been for any person who had less 
driving force within them. 

But she delighted so much in adventure that the 
shortcomings and difficulties of life were always full 
of possibilities. Her spirit rose to meet them, like 
a cork upon the waves. We travelled with her, 
at the end of our visit, all of us going together to 
Jura, where Uncle George had a house that year. 
No boat goes naturally from Tiree direct to any 


landing-place in Jura, but this circumstance only 
gave Aunt V. an opportunity for one of the elabor- 
ate plans which her soul loved. " Links/' she 
used to call them. Anyone who knew her methods 
and heard her open a conversation with that word 
knew quite well that no apparent impossibility would 
deter her from accomplishing her desire, whatever it 
might be. If one was destined to take one's share 
in forging the chain one might as well acquiesce at 
once, for there would be no hope of escape. 

It was so upon this journey. She decreed that the 
passenger steamer, on which we left Tiree, should 
cast anchor in the middle of the Sound of Jura, to 
allow us to get off to a row-boat, which Uncle George 
would cause to be in waiting at the appointed place. 
I recollect the turmoil of correspondence which 
preceded this decision, and the triumphant arrange- 
ment at the end. When the day came for us to leave 
Tiree it was pretty rough, and we had to wait a long 
time for the boat to come, and had a really bad time 
getting on board when she did. Aunt V. was half 
carried over a long stretch of slippery seaweed by 
two sailors ; we walked behind, with the maids, 
who screamed and thought they were going to slip. 
Aunt V. turned round and told them not to be 
idiotic, then winked at us, and burst out laughing. 
It was on that sort of occasion that one felt one would 
like to go to the world's end with her. She was 
splendid in a crisis, especially if it involved some sort 
of personal risk to herself. I believe she enjoyed 
these occasions so enormously that she was really 


disappointed when things went uneventfully, and she 
had a knack of stirring up storms too. I am sure the 
wind always blew when she was out. On this particu- 
lar day it certainly did. The sea got rougher and 
rougher, and after we had passed Iona the Captain 
came to Aunt V., who was sitting on deck covered 
with innumerable shawls, and told her that he was 
doubtful about the possibility of stopping in Jura 
Sound unless the wind fell. But that was not a point 
on which any doubt could be allowed, and so she told 
him at once. He was wise enough not to argue 
and retired. 

In the Sound there was a perfect hurricane, and 
a great deal of swell. We saw the boat sent out for 
us far to the southward of the steamer, having been 
swept there by the current, and quite unable to make 
her way back to us against it. The captain re- 
appeared, and again told Aunt V. that we could not 
stop, and that he must take us on. She looked at 
him sternly, and drew his attention to Uncle George, 
who could be dimly seen across the heaving waters, 
gesticulating wildly upon the pier. " Do you see 
Lord George ? " said Aunt V. " I shall not leave 
him. You must wait." The wretched man obeyed. 
We all watched the little boat breathlessly. 

Passengers, till now unseen, came out from hiding- 
places, and seemed to wish to know the reason of 
delay. Aunt V. paid no attention to them at all. 

The boat had given up trying to get back to us 
direct, but went under the shelter of the shore, till 
she was above us, and made another effort to be 


swept down to us. But she failed again. Things 
were getting rather serious. More than half an hour 
had passed. The captain collected all his courage, 
and came and told Aunt V. that if he did not go on 
soon he would not be able to land his passengers 
in time for the London train. 

Aunt V. lent a very favourable ear to this argu- 
ment, and told him that if the row-boat failed in the 
third attempt to reach us he might go on. Then he 
tried to point out that even if she succeeded 
it would be impossible for Aunt V. to get on board 
her in such a sea. Then Aunt V. became really angry. 
She withered him absolutely. She told him not to 
talk nonsense. To my intense relief it became clear 
at this point that the little boat was getting along- 
side. Soon she was grappled to the steamer. I don't 
know to this day how they did get Aunt V. safely 
down the ship's side and into the boat without an 
accident. I have heard it said that it was possible 
for the sailors to do almost anything with her, because 
she had such nerve and presence of mind, and the 
confidence of perfect courage. 

Anyhow, by the time my turn came to be helped 
down I saw her safe in the boat far below, a bundle of 
wraps, and a beaming face, looking up. Once more 
she had brought off the impossible. She, a woman 
and a cripple, was safe at her journey's end, under 
circumstances in which many a strong man would 
have submitted to be landed like a sheep in Greenock, 
and taken no shame to himself for it. 

It is when one remembers such scenes that one feels 


that the world is a duller place since she left it. 
But she would not have wished that feeling to remain. 
She found nothing dull. She went through life with 
a brave and merry heart, not stumbling over the rough 
places in her own path, and quivering always with 
eagerness to help other people over theirs. How 
often she did so no one of us will ever know. Her life 
had so many threads, such wide interests, and so 
diverging. But though no one now can gather them 
all up, or see her completely as she was, we all, who 
knew her, from whatever angle it may have been, 
can agree in this, which was said to me lately by an 
old woman at Inveraray. (Mrs. Campbell, who used 
to live at Kenmore.) I told her that my mother was 
writing about Aunt V.'s life. 

" Ah, well," she said, " she's right to try it, and 
maybe she'll make it good. But I ken fine this, 
that it'll never be as good as Lady Victoria was herself. 
We shall never see the like of her again." 

The year 1885 ends with this backward glance : — 

This election recalls the words, " Men's hearts 
failing them for fear," and never did one feel so 
utterly ignorant as to what a day may bring forth. 

It is long since we have been so many together 
at Inveraray at this time. The Archie and Balfour 
children have been a great pleasure. 

The year of " being free for the islands " dawned 
with 1886. The diary of the months between January 
and August are full of the busy, and, on the whole, 


happy life in London. Her Sundays were spent in 
good health, and record steady attendance in the 
churches where Dr. Saphir and " Greatheart," her 
name for Dr. Oswald Dykes, were ministering. Her 
wards in the Infirmary saw her regularly, and there 
are many notices of the cases she found and never 
left unaided. She had what had become the greatest 
joy of her summer time: a visit to her friend and rela- 
tive, Miss Coventry, at Mildmay ; and she " revelled " 
in all she heard, and those she met at the Conference. 
In May she writes : " Teddy (the Vicar of Ken- 
sington), at the Devotional meeting, was upon, 
' My heart is fixed ' ; " and then follow the words : 
" Papa worried, Tyree and Political." In July she 
says : "A full week. One full of political excitement. 
Joy at Unionist victory. Went down early to Mary. 
Went to Bible-reading. Struck with Teddy's con- 
clusion : ' Saving a soul from death.'" 

Aug. 1th. 

Long talk with P. about Tyree. A little with 
Frances. Sorting and arranging. Went to men's 
ward. In garden, joined Eustace and Bafly. 
Been a week of a good deal of strain. Feel glad 
that Tyree seems nearly settled. 

Lady Victoria moved to Edinburgh, and had a 
pleasant time there with her aunt, seeing Dr. John 
Ker, and other friends, and then travelled with 
Miss McNeill to Colonsay, which was then in the 
possession of Sir John McNeill, v.c. 


Aug. 24£h. 

Came to Colonsay. Struck with retrospect of 
ten years. 

Aug. 27th. 

Mrs. Grant came. Much talk with her. Writing 
and Gaelic. Walked on yellow beach with Ina. 
Feel so glad to be here again. 

Aug. 30th. 

A good deal of Gaelic. More hopeful about 
Tyree. Afternoon on sands with Ina. Delightful 
day at Oronsay. Thinking much of past days at 

Sep. 3rd. 

Lovely day. Came to Iona from Colonsay. 
Sick at crofter debate. Touching reception by the 

Sep. 4th. 

Quiet evening. Long boating cruise. Great 
beauty. Mrs. Grant went to four houses. A week 
of much enjoyment, and feel now fairly embarked. 
Long time in the ruins. Settled for Y.W.C.A. 
meetings. Visited village. 

Sep. 9th. 

Great storm. Had a talk with Ritchie. Worry- 
ing post. Got quiet after answering them. Had 
a good deal of talk with Miss Steinberger. A week 
of a good deal of collapse, but intensely happy. 


Sep. 12th. 

Got to the Cathedral in morning. Betsy M'Kin- 
non came with flowers and shells. Crossed to the 
Ross. F.C. Manse meeting at night. 

Sep. Uth. 

Came to Bunessan. Called upon people. C.C. 
and Y.W.C.A. Settled upon Kintra. Touched with 
the feeling of the people. 

Sep. nth. 

Drove to Scoor. Called on people. A week of 
getting through much. More than I could dream 
of. Ps. 103. 

In August, Lady Victoria had written to Mrs. 
Macdiarmid, in Tiree, as to her intentions of visiting 
the island. The house where she was to stay has been 
described by the Duke, in the extracts quoted from 
his books. Island House was lived in by the factor 
and his family ; but whenever the Duke or his children 
came to the island it was their residence for the time 
they remained in Tiree. 

Mrs. Macdiarmid was already acquainted with 
Lady Victoria, and the ties of friendship and fellow- 
working were to be much strengthened in the years 
that lay before them. Letters to Mrs. Macdiarmid 
form almost the only material for reconstructing her 
work in the island, for her letters to the outside 
world contain little detail. 

Many of the exertions which she undertook, and 

IT. &■ R.Ant, 


most of the storms she encountered by land or sea, 
she thought it prudent to say nothing about to her 
family, and for the life, she would say that you 
needed to live in the islands to understand about them. 
Her letters, therefore, were chiefly comments on the 
affairs of her family, or of the world outside her 
kingdom ; and this biography owes a great debt to 
Mrs. Macdiarmid for preserving the letters of one 
whom she speaks of as her friend and teacher. 
Letter to Mrs. Macdiarmid : — 

Aug., 1886. 

Towards the end of August I hope to land on 
Tyree, and stay at least a fortnight with you in 
Island House. I hope I may be able to set some- 
thing on foot amongst the women and girls which 
may occupy them for the coming autumn and 

The Duke's principal objection to my going is 
the difficulty of landing in rough weather. 

I am not afraid ; but as I am going with Miss 
McNeill to Colonsay, it has determined me all the 
more not to shirk our own people. It is a grave 
matter if some of the family do not come from time 
to time and take an interest in the people, even 
though some of them have behaved badly. I have 
long wished to do this, and even though I should 
encounter anything unpleasant, there is no reason 
now that I have the leisure that I should not 
encounter it as well as you and your husband. 
It will go far to show the people that, although the 


Duke must see that the law is maintained, he has 
no unkind feeling towards them. 

Owing to my ties at home, I have long been 
hindered doing what I felt was a simple duty. 

Again she writes to the same : — 

I am in hopes, if I put off as long as possible, 
the excitement may have abated ; and I should 
like the Marines away, as it might look as if I were 
trusting to their protection. 

Then, also, the reporters might leave ! 

Every line written here is characteristic of the 
writer. The Duke knew her well enough to express 
no fears, save as to the rough landing. " I am not 
afraid," was always her answer, and she would know 
instinctively that no " unpleasantness " would ever 
be shown to one of her race. 

There had been foolish threats of personal violence 
among the islanders. A few of the biggest cowards, 
men afraid of their own shadows, had threatened to 
hang an individual from his chimney. Most of them 
would have run away from a child carrying a dog- 
whip. It was not the attitude of the mass of the 
people, and was of course injudiciously advertised 
by those reporters whose absence Lady Victoria 
greatly desired. 

The brief entries from the diaries continue the 


Colonsay, Sep. 1st, 1886. 

Three weeks since Evey's marriage. Two days 
after it I went to Burnhead, where I found Miss 
McNeill, whose desolate life is left still more so 
by the death of her old mother. As she was about 
to return here alone I offered to come with her. 
It seemed to be the duty, and, as it has turned out, 
the blessing appointed for me. Many things 
combined to make me feel shipwrecked when I left 
London. It was a wrench, and a last link broken 
(in one sense) with the old sisterhood. 

I had had my wish out with my father to go to 
the islands. I have such a longing to know more 
of the lives of these people, and see if, by some quiet 
influence and intercourse brought to bear upon 
the women and girls, something may not be done 
to lessen the present strain. ' 

Oh, that they could know the deep pain of it all, 
and perceive the utter folly of all attempting to live 
upon one piece of land ; but it is a large subject. 

Iona, Sunday, Sep. 12th, 1886. 

What am I to say to-night, which, if all goes 
well, will be my last in Iona at this time ? I have 
had such a happy time these ten days. I feel the 
expression which suits me best is, " My cup run- 
neth over." 

My prayer has been more than answered. 

Looking out on the Sound, across it to-night there 
is a silver pathway. The hills and islands clear in 
the moonlight. 


I have been longing to go into what is called 
" The Great Harvest Field," which God seems now 
to be putting in a measure into my hands. 

I never expected when I came to leave a branch 
started of the Y.W.C.A. numbering twenty Iona 
girls. This gives me a greater sense that it has not 
been of mere human arrangement. 

To-day, being unable to get as far as the Free 
Church, where the only service was being held, 
I got away into the Cathedral by myself. I think 
there is no place like this little island. The very 
air seems to breathe peace. As my mother must 
have felt when she wrote the lines : 

" Iona, green Iona, gem of the soft west sea, 
Blessed still be thy loveliness in heart and memory. 
For beautiful are still the feet 
That once thy rough ways trod, 
And the holy air is full of pray'r 
Which hath been heard of God." 

The first evening I arrived I went up to our 
mother's cross. It was something to dream of. 
The setting sun just caught the circle, while the 
rest was in shadow. The red granite rocks, the 
blue-green water of the Sound. The dim blue of 
the Mull Mountains, while to the right one could 
see the spray dashing up against the rocks. 

I had heard so much of the spiritual deadness of 
Iona that, in some ways, I have been agreeably 
surprised. For instance, the footing between the 
Established and Free ministers — putting each 


other up in their manses. The night Miss Stein- 
berger went to the Ross to get the people's signa- 
tures to Mr. Finlay's Bill, she slept in the Free 
Church manse. 

Surely such a spirit is more in accordance with 
the mind of Christ than in many other places, 
and in neither of these cases does it proceed from 

Gaelic books have been eagerly asked for here, 
and Mrs. Grant has, I think, been a success. 

Sep. 13th, 1886. 

Went to the Ross of Mull. Had meeting for 
girls in the school-house. Many older women also 
came. I asked them to meet me the following 
morning to speak about the clothing club, and also 
the possibility of taking in work. Their pale, 
eager, wistful faces told only too plainly the account 
of their struggle with poverty was not overdrawn. 
The distress of the people haunted me. How 
selfish it is that it does not do so more. 

Sep. 19th, 1886. Bunessan. 

This has been an incessantly busy week. Con- 
sulting with local people about Y.W.C.A. and C.C. 
I have had two meetings with girls. Many have 
joined the Y.W.C.A. The outburst of affection 
from the people has been very touching. 

Sep. 21st, 1886. 

Came to Tiree. Horrified at extent and depth 
of Land League. 


Sep. 22nd. 

Went to see people. East end of island. To the 
Manse. Late home. 

Sep. 23rd. 

Mrs. McFarlane. Some daylight. Afternoon : 
Mannal, Balemartine. 

Sep. 2teh. 

Visited Balinoe. Glorious drive to Balephetrish. 
Struck with conversation of the men. Afternoon, 
wrote long letter to my father. 

Week of intense interest and cause for gratitude. 

Sunday, Sep. 26th, 1886. 

Mr. McRury, " Christ is our life." Sometime 
out alone. Heard of his beautiful Gaelic service. 

Sep. 27th. 

Went to Buchanans, Mrs. McLean, Mrs. Wallace. 
Some daylight about Y.W.C.A. 

Sep. 28th. 

Long talk with Mr. McRury. Wrote to Dr. 
Story. Visited crofters. 

Sep. 29th. 

Dreadfully trying day. Saw Macdiarmid. Went 
to Mrs. MacFarlane for nought. 

Sep. 30th. 

Went to Mrs. Mottram. Large gathering in school- 
room. Pleasant day. People waiting on arrival. 


Oct. 1st. 

Got word boat would not be in before daybreak. 
Writing letters. Mrs. McLeod at night. 

Oct. 2nd. 

Down at Scarinish by 8.30 a.m. Long day of 
waiting. Embarked about five. Feeling of intense 
thankfulness. Some anxiety on part of Dot. 

Oct. 3rd. 

All day on board. Sick in afternoon. Talk with 
young Ritchie. Got to Glasgow about 11 p.m. 

Oct. 4th. 

Came to Burnhead, Liberton. Glad to be at 

Dec. 31st. Inveraray. 

Thankful I have been to the Islands. My two 

Thus, at last, the desire of her heart, the fulfilment 
of her second consecration, had come to her. Hence- 
forward she was to obey " the call of the blood " ; 
her father's people claimed her life and her leadership. 
Freely she gave her life to them, and, however rough 
were the waters through which she passed, her spirit 
found its rest beneath the everlasting hills, and among 
the people of her love. 



" And thou, Iona, 
Of Islands most blest, 
Where saints have their slumber, 
And kings have their rest. 

" Dark Staffa broods yonder, 
There beacons Duni 
To Ulva and Islay 
And stormy Tiree. 

" peace ! and O splendour ! 
The thoughts of the soul, 
Like doves to their windows 
Wing swift to their goal. 

" The wishes oft wander, 
The fancies may roam, 
But here, beloved, 
The heart is at home." 

From 1887 to 1890 there was little change in the 
routine of Lady Victoria's life. A visit to the islands 
of about six weeks formed part of the autumn 
campaign, and the amount she accomplished in the 
time and at each place, the manner in which she 
"took up the links," and remembered individuals 
and households, remained an astonishment to all 
who worked with her. 

The records of the journeys had often " weary " 
written after them ; the landings had the note, 



" Long waiting on the cargo-boat ; " and those who 
travel by Hebridean steamers know what those words 

But the more contrary the winds and tides, the more 
her spirits rose to the waves, and the weeks were 
recorded as " delightful," and " Ps. 103 " was nearly 
always written at their close. 

In 1889 one significant line during her stay in 
Tiree tells of the future " looking at empty house 
with Mrs. Macdiarmid. Long talk of arrangements in 
Island House." The Duke knew as long as she re- 
mained with Mr. and Mrs. Macdiarmid her physical 
comforts would be secured. A comfortable house to 
which to return seemed necessary to those who 
watched her fatigues. She measured her strength 
by the amount she could put into the hours, and 
even in these early days of her work it is not un- 
common to find the note, " Started at 10.30 " to 
some outlying district, and " returned 5.30." 

The rest would be made in some house or cottage, 
where the hot-water bottle for her feet, the first 
necessity to her existence, could be replenished ; 
she herself fed, the horse rested, and her class held, 
or the consultation about " new openings " made. 

The vehicle a two-wheeled gig, and the roads 
a mixture of well-worn ruts, loose stones, and fixed 
boulders ; only one track was always smooth, over 
white sands, the tidal roadways, and they were a 
reward for all other roughness in the goings from east 
to west. 

Lady Victoria's thoughts were always with her 


work. She had many centres for it, and it was a 
marvel how she " knew the ropes," keeping them 
separate in her mind ; and how, when she reached 
the different " airts," she managed to pick up all the 
" links," and rivet them afresh on to her daily round. 

Some extracts from her letters and reflections in 
her diaries for the next three years, tell in her own 
words what was going on in " the land beneath the 

Extracts from letters written to Mrs. Macdiarmid 
at Island House, Tiree, 1887. 

We will look upon the Tiree branch of the 
Y.W.C.A. as begun in 1887. 

It is a sore day for whichever section of the Church 
it is that calls her minister, not because of his 
qualities as such, but on account of his political 

Both Established and Free ! I am quite 
wretched about the ecclesiastical state of our 
Highlands. We ought to be very earnest in prayer 
that God would send an outpouring of His Holy 
Spirit, for nothing else will alter it. 

Tobermory, Sep., 1887. 

What a dear little place this cottage is ! I am 
resting as much as is possible, with poor Tiree 
weighing on my mind, as it must do. 

As I left that lovely autumn morning, I could not 
but think of the contrast between Nature's calm, 
and the turbulent spirit swaying, alas, many of 


the hearts — while too many of God's children 
forget that He requires them sometimes to be 
" valiant for the Truth," and to fight. 

" Truth and righteousness have perished," were 
the words ringing in my ears. 

Inveraray, Sep., 1887. 

Many a time have I written to you in my heart, 
and rejoiced to think of you being abundantly 
fed with manna, and rivulets from the Water of 
Life, while seeking physical health. May God 
grant you both in rich abundance. 

During the last trying weeks the thought has 
come with a great sense of rest, that if we are 
wholly given up to God we really shall not, cannot 
lack anything. All will really and truly work 
together for our good. Too often, I fear, we believe 
all this only in a kind of head-knowledge way. 

The news that my father had another relapse 
of gout reached me at Tobermory. I got through 
my work there, at Oban, and in dear little Lismore, 
with a tug at my heart. I did not wait at Dunstaff- 
nage over the Sunday, but after the Lismore 
meeting took the 6.30 p.m. train from Oban, 
and came on here at night. A lovely drive it has 
been, with a brilliant starlit sky, and the night air 
fragrant with the scent of heather, bog myrtle, a 
general sense of greenness and trees ! 

Ever since I have been immersed in home duties, 
taking the watch by him, and seeing to relatives 
in the Castle. 


The news which greeted me at Dunstaffnage of 
the death of Dr. Matthews Duncan was a real 
grief to me. He has been my only doctor and a true 
friend for twelve years. I am wae to think of his 
wife and nine bairns. 

Remember the " watered lilies," don't fight and 
struggle about one particular class or meeting. 
If God intends to use it, or a particular worker, 
the way will be made plain if not easy. 

Jan., 1888. 

Ah ! I shall have to come and spend a winter 
with you. I think it would suit me very well. 
I think the Y.W.C.A. will overcome the Land 


Feb., 1888. 

I hear you are still detained looking at the 
uncongenial ocean. The words must be passing 
sweet : " There shall be no more sea." 

Feb., 1889. 

Your letter has been a cheer to me. I have been 
laid aside for the last five weeks. It began with 
an influenza, then severe neuralgia, accompanied 
by prostration. I have known again what it is to 
long to be up and doing, and yet kept back by 
weakness. An old woman said to me to-day : 
" Eh, my lady, the Lord does'na wush that we 
should do more than we have strength for." 


July, 1889. 

I hope to set out on my travels in September. 
I think Tobermory, Oban, perhaps Iona, all want 
me early in the month, but I am not ubiquitous. 
I need not say I want to go where I shall find Mr. 
Macdiarmid, if only to guard me when the L.L. 
minister is interviewing me, and to prevent your 
coming down to the quay when the weather is only 
fit for a stormy petrel. If you don't promise me 
not to play such pranks again, I shall have to cut 
Tiree, and put the reason in the " Oban Times." 

Sep., 1889. 

If the boat goes Friday tell your husband, D.V., 
I go. The cargo-boat, as we know, is the best for 
one to be thrown into, if rough. 

Your husband will tell you we had a strangely 
difficult embarkation. The swell was so unexpected. 
Young Mr. McLean came out grandly in the light 
of a muscular Christian, hoisting me on to the 
ladder like a baby. 

From Mull :— 

There are touches of infinite comic in one's life, 
especially when, after weighing the respective 
merits of boat and machine (to Knock), one is told 
one must take the latter ; but boulders are apt to 
come down upon one ! Then Lome telegraphs : 
" Have you closed carriage ? " Bless his heart ! 
I have replied by silence. 


Knitter's tea. At the last moment I was told it 
was just the women who did not knit present. 

Put your mind at rest about your secretary- 
ship. God will send forth more labourers into His 
Harvest when the time is ripe, and in the meantime 
Tiree is a field which brings fresh to one's mind, 
" More things are wrought by Prayer." 

Oct. 9th, 1887. 

Sunday at Burnhead, Liberton. 

A year and a half has rolled by since I last wrote 
in this book. What cause I have to thank God ! 
Two expeditions to the Islands, and establishment 
of Y.W.C.A. in them. 

Sep. 28th, 1888. 

What a lapse of time since I wrote. This day 
finds me in Iona, having made a tour of five weeks. 
Tiree, Tobermory, Iona, Bunessan, again Iona. 
Strange contrast from family and home life. It 
has given me a great insight into the greater call 
of the mission life. One's spirit always at home, 
and yet the poverty, the sin and suffering, and that 
great social problem of Land Leagues, have surged 
round me, coupled with the devotion and loyalty of 
the people. 

From her diary : — 

March, 1889. Edinburgh. 

I have had more than one token of blessing on 
the work in Argyll. I felt this in the islands, 


especially in Tobermory, Baltimore, and Oban ; 
and now, through correspondence chiefly, Strachur, 
Lismore, Ardrishaig, and Lochgilphead are likely 
to join the Y.W.C.A. 

The fortnight here in the autumn teemed with 
life and interest. There was the great tryst at the 

I made the acquaintance of Mr. G. Wilson, Miss 
Farquhar Spottiswood, and Miss Elliot, originator 
of the Fellow-workers' Union of the Church of 
Scotland, of which I have been asked to take the 
Presidentship. Then I got the emigration business 
completed. A great English Society changing its 
name to British in order to include Scotland and 

The longer Lady Victoria remained at Inveraray, 
absorbed in her classes, or secluded in the remote 
Highlands, the more eagerly did she look forward 
to her " breaks " in the companionships and Church 
services of town life. 

She often used an expression, familiar to all her 
friends, and recurring frequently in her diary, 
" Running down the Rest." It was a saying denoting 
a pause in strenuous exertion, and was reminiscent of 
the posting drives to and from Inveraray. The long, 
high pass to Loch Lomond is crowned by the inscrip- 
tion on the mile-stone : " Rest and be Thankful," 
and that summit attained, the post-horses of the past, 
and the motors of to-day, " Run down the Rest " ; 
either, as it was, to the Argyll children home to Loch 


Fyne, or down on Loch Lomond on their way back 
to the habitations of " white men," as Dr. Cumming 
would call the return to the City. 

At this period the spring and summer were passed 
in London, and in both going and coming to and from 
England, Edinburgh was a place which claimed her 
time. Some weeks were always spent either at 
Liberton with her aunt, or with Dr. Cumming at 

That home of rest lasted far into her days, and it 
only closed with the death of Dr. Cumming in 1892. 

Perhaps a review of this long life is as well placed 
at the close of its story, as it would have been in an 
earlier page of this memoir. 

Lady Victoria's diaries contain many entries 
written at Kinellan. 

Sunday, Feb. 27th, 1887. 

A glorious day, and when in the garden, looking 
over to the beloved City with its distant hills, I 
thought I could plead the promise : "He shall give 
thee thy heart's desire." My two consecrations, 
and the western highlands. 

And again : — 

Kinellan, March, 1889. 

What an oasis, a harbour of refuge, has this 
dear home often been, with its beloved host, 
and how good of God to bring me back once more. 
He alone knows how weary and homesick I have 
been for its peace and loneliness. And yet not 


loneliness, for I have been feeling so keenly to-day- 
how surrounded one is with those in whose hearts 
are ringing the " Chimes of Eternal Peace." 

" The beloved host," Dr. Cumming of Kinellan, had 
been the friend, and his life an essential fact in three 
generations of the Campbell family. No parent could 
stand in a closer relation than did "the long Doctor" to 
his early charge, the Duke, and to the long succession 
of those he was ever wont to call and to consider as 
" my grandchildren." He lived to see the birth of 
a large army of great-grandchildren. The warm 
heart, the undying interest and love, never failed any 
of the generations, and the door of his home, and all 
that he possessed, were very liberally at their disposal. 

There are many in Edinburgh who can recall the 
familiar figure, as it went out for the daily "hurl"; 
the open carriage, the grey horses, and the well- 
known figure of the driver, William Peck ; in the 
corner, a little bent to one side, the thin figure of 
the Doctor, with the heavy military cloak, and the 
tall hat of correct Victorian fashion. 

Dr. Cumming had been associated with the Duke 
in his early youth, having travelled the grand tour as 
his medical adviser and guardian, while Dean Howson 
was his tutor. 

In a story, long out of print, called " The Highland 
Nurse," the Duke gives his early impressions of this 
remarkable man. He was with his father, Lord John 
Campbell, at Ardencaple Castle, when he heard the 
rapid approach of a vehicle. 


" Look out," said my father. " Who's that ? " 
" I see nothing," I reported, " but part of a big 
black portmanteau with only the word " Captain " 
in large white letters on a bit of it." " Captain ? " 
said my father. " Who can it be ? Run to the 
hall, and see what you can see." The front door 
bell had been rung, and an old soldier-servant of 
my father's, named Mc Vicar, was issuing from a 
subterranean pantry, struggling to get his arms into 
a more seemly coat than that in which he had been 
at work. 

On his opening the door I could see a gig, and in 
it, seated beside the driver, there was a tall man, 
much muffled up in cloaks, with a hat pressed down 
upon his forehead : under the brim of this hat there 
projected a long and strongly marked hooked nose. 
The chin was retiring, so that the prominence of 
the upper organ was all the more accentuated. 
Long and bushy eyebrows hung over eyes which were 
small and penetrating. Fixing them on Mc Vicar, 
when he appeared at the door, the stranger said : 
" Is the Laird at home ? " 

This question was put in such a voice as I had 
never heard, and find it difficult to describe. It 
was not only a deep bass, but a bass with a powerful 
metallic ring in it, like a trombone. It seemed to 
throw into vibration the whole air of a somewhat 
lofty hall. Every cavity seemed to take up the 
resonance, and, as in the case of some of the 
deepest organ notes, a tremulous vibration was 
communicated even to the floors. 


Riveted to the spot on which I stood, my 
surprise was, in another moment, intensified by- 
its effect on my father. " The Captain/' I heard 
him shouting in the workshop behind me, and the 
exclamation was followed by the noise of falling 
tools, as if, in his surprise, he had forgotten his 
usual careful handling of all his implements. 

The Captain had stepped down from the gig, 
and was just entering the doorway when my father 
met him. Such a handshaking I had never seen, 
whilst the Captain's face exhibited a new feature. 
When he smiled, the smile was on a mouth of 
unusual breadth, and exhibited a set of teeth 
perfect in their regularity, and tremendous in their 
size and strength. " Oh, Laird," he kept repeating 
in the same tremendous voice, as he shook my 
father's hand, with a shake which seemed as if 
it would never end. 

I had now time to take fuller observation of this 
mysterious Captain, when all his cloaks had been 
thrown off, and his comforters from round his 
throat, and when his hat had been, last of all, 
removed and deposited with his gloves on the table 
in the hall. He was above six foot in height, with 
long, thin legs, rather knock-kneed ; his shoulders 
were sloping, his neck was long, and his brow high, 
leading up to a dome-shaped head, clad with long, 
but scanty hair. 

Thus the Duke recalls vividly to the generation 
that knew him, the figure which for half a century was 


associated with Edinburgh. The return thus described 
was from India, where Dr. Cumming had been a 
surgeon in the service of the East India Company. 
All that part of his life was far behind, when the 
grandchildren realised " Docky " as part of their 
existence. Kinellan belonged to Sir James and 
Lady Cox, the sister of Dr. Cumming. He had his 
room in their house, and his guests were always 
welcome to Lady Cox. After their death, Kinellan 
was left to the Doctor, and there his long life closed 
in 1892. Soon after his return from India he was 
totally paralysed in both legs, and could only accom- 
plish walking with the greatest difficulty. The Duke 
gave him a house on Loch Baa, in Mull, where he 
was able to practise the ruling passion of his existence, 
the art of the angler. " Tusculum, by Lake Regillus," 
was the Mecca of many an angler, and the rest- 
house of numerous guests. Far and wide was the 
circle of the Doctor's friends, and in the little house 
by the loch, beneath the shadow of Ben Mohr, there 
was much of the simple life and joyous holiday 

At Kinellan, Lady Victoria had the society of all 
that was best in Edinburgh. Thither came Dr. John 
Ker, a near neighbour and friend; and Sir Arthur 
Mitchell the intimate friend and companion of the 
Duke in his cruises and researches. There, came the 
Docky 's minister, "Lang Tarn," the great Dr. Guthrie, 
Colonel Yule, or " Marco Polo," while Dr. MacGregor 
brought the cheer of his presence, after he had learnt 
to know Kinellan, through his life at Inveraray. 


It was a centre of varied interests, and the simple, 
pious life of the old Doctor could not but tell on all 
the grandchildren. He had the ways of a military 
martinet, which presented a curious contrast to the 
peculiarly soft heart, of which the grandchildren 
knew well how to take advantage. " I'll garr you 
do it," met all defiance. Punctuality he had drilled 
into his first pupil by the application of " cold pig " 
in the face of the sleeper, and it was not a forgotten 
remedy when the young generation " slept in." 
Dr. Johnson and Robbie Burns were instilled into 
the minds of the children, and they knew Rasselas, 
and learnt the passage on Iona by heart, stimulated 
by alternate threats and tips. The Doctor never 
passed the Scott monument without a military salute, 
and no one reared and instructed by him can to-day 
pass that spot with a clear conscience, unless they 
have given some outward token of respect to the great 
man they were taught thus to reverence. 

The Duke used to say that Dr. Cumming had lived 
through the Disruption, and had never been able 
to grasp what it was all about, or to attach any 
significance to the dispute. In the hottest days of 
the conflict he would bring together men of the 
divided camps, and utter some bombshell remark, 
which showed both the innocence of his heart and his 
ignorance of the wordy warfare. The deep piety of 
his religion was unable to grasp ecclesiastical strife. 
His Bible and the prayers of Dr. Johnson were ever 
at his side, and Sunday by Sunday he was a reverent 
worshipper in the Church of St. John. 


Unlike Lady Emma's house, his was the meeting- 
place of men of all schools of thought, and the grand- 
children can look back and bless the years that 
brought them into " a large place," and gave them 
the memory of a life so full of simple faith and the 
best wisdom of the world. 

Probably her infirmity, akin to his own, made 
" the V.C.," as he called Lady Victoria, among those 
the Doctor loved most dearly. Whenever possible, 
Kinellan was her place of abode, and the days always 
contained hours spent in reading or playing chess 
with " the beloved host," and rejoicing in the friends 
who came in to see the Docky, happy in the company 
of his ever-welcome guest. 

In 1888 Dr. Saphir retired from his public ministry 
in London, and two years after Lady Victoria was 
to lose this pastor and friend of her life. Somewhere 
about the same date, she notes the farewell sermon 
of " Greatheart," and the cords which bound her to 
two ministries were loosened. 

In 1889 the name of Dr. Donald Macleod is entered 
in her journals, and in close proximity to his name 
appears the familiar word Gaelic. The acquaintance 
begun with a "Macleod," meant at once another Gaelic 
instructor. Dr. Donald Macleod has kindly written 
his recollections of his friendship with Lady Victoria. 

" In 1888 she became a member of St. Columba's 
Church, and it may be fairly said that it was from 
this time that she began to take such prominent 
part in the Life and Work of our Church, in Scotland 
as well as in London. 


" Our personal friendship began with her repeatedly 
expressed desire, as she put it to me, ' to know 
Gaelic thoroughly/ It was then that I found out 
the secret of a life that could brave so much, and 
accomplish so much, in the face of hindrances and 
difficulties which would have disheartened and 
baffled many others. With a purpose that seldom 
allowed interference, she set herself, at once, to the 
task she had undertaken. 

" For six months, two hours were devoted daily to 
her ' Gaelic lesson." Once a week she reported 
progress to her ' Revd. Tutor/ as she styled me, 
and on her return to Scotland so faithfully did she 
continue her Gaelic studies that in a wonderfully 
short time she was able to speak and read and write 
the language. 

" I remember once saying that I preferred her Gaelic 
letters. She replied with a very meaning smile, 
' I can believe it.' If the Gaelic was not written 
plainly it would have been a hopeless business to 
decipher. The English did not require so much 
pains in writing, though the cost might be more 
in reading. 

" Lady Victoria learned their ' tongue ' as she de- 
termined, for she knew that in this way she would 
reach the hearts of her islanders as otherwise she 
could never do. And it was not in vain, for among 
these islands of Argyll, Lady Victoria was especially 
esteemed and loved, and the remembrance of her 
kindly and helpful interest will be long and fondly 


" Lady Victoria needed to be known to be under- 
stood. There was a side of her character and life that 
many, even of her friends, never seemed to find out. 
She was not without faults, but no one knew it better 
than herself. She was not apt to confess mistakes, 
but she felt them, and did not forget them. She was 
sometimes impatient with others, but she never 
spared herself. She might say the word not too 
well considered or too gently put, but a ' Celt of the 
Celts, 5 she was a warm-hearted woman, and a loyal 
friend. She seldom spoke of her Christian experience, 
but it was often plain how really she lived in the 
presence of a personal Saviour. It was the explana- 
tion of a faith and a courage and a hopefulness not 
very common among Christ's disciples. It was the 
secret of a service that never seemed to tire, and of 
a devotion that grew more intense. ' Instant in 
season and out of season.' Bent on doing ' what she 

" Allowed to see her for a few moments, in a sickness 
nigh unto death, after prayer that she might be 
spared to us, she whispered to me in her weakness : 
' If He will, perhaps I may do something more for 
Him before I see Him face to face.' 

" Some two weeks before she was taken from us 
I saw her. She was full of the great World Missionary 
Conference which she had been attending in Edin- 
burgh, and greatly lifted with the hope of the Union 
of the Churches in Scotland. 

" Little did I dream then that we should never 
meet in this world again. I had promised to visit 


her, in the near autumn, in her island home, and 
as we parted, in her own bright way she said : ' Re- 
member you keep your tryst with me/ God had 
ordained it otherwise. She was gone from her beloved 
Iona and Tiree, but we will keep our ' tryst ' on the 
further, safer shore." 

On one of the Sundays of the spring-time there is 
a new entry in church attendance : " Service in Pont 
Street, with Baffy and Margaret Maclean " — this last 
a native of Tiree, and the devoted nurse of the two 
eldest Balfour children. She was soon to return to 
her home, and be one of Lady Victoria's fellow- 

From that time onwards there were to be no more 
" wanderings " when Lady Victoria was in London. 
St. Columba's (Church of Scotland) claimed and re- 
ceived her full allegiance. 

The old connection with Crown Court Church had 
long ceased to exist. The ministry of Dr. Cumming 
in its later periods had not satisfied the Duke, and 
probably the distance from Argyll Lodge had helped 
to sever the ties which bound him to the church. 

The National Church, after the Disruption, had been 
left with " the Kirk of the Crown," as its principal 
representative, and its affairs were at a low ebb in the 
years when Lady Victoria began her Church life. 
She had not missed its presence, for the English 
Presbyterian churches around her had contained all 
she needed. 

The Duke had never interested himself much in 
Church organisation, and he had taken no part in 


the history of the Scottish Church in London. The 
influence of Dr. Cumming was literally world-wide, 
and he had gathered into the ark in Covent Garden 
" every beast after his kind," and the Scot was by no 
means in the majority. He might have reared a 
church three times the size of that whose name he 
had made famous, and had he thought of the future 
of the Church of Scotland, and its people in England, 
he ought to have exercised his gifts as a seer, and 
established and settled the things that remained. 

He saw otherwise. His affections were rooted in 
the old church and the place, and particularly the slums 
in which it then stood, and which he had adopted 
for the field of his philanthropic labours. There he had 
preached, and there he wished to end his ministry. 
Fortunately for the Presbyterian system of Church 
government, the minister is but the centre of a Kirk 
Session, and the wisdom and power of that Church 
Court was never better exemplified than in the de- 
cision which brought St. Columba's Church into 
Belgravia, and gathered a congregation of Scots 
around its new minister, with a name dear to the 
hearts of all who loved the Church of Scotland. 
Among those who became members of the congre- 
gation was the Duke, who came to the church after 
Lady Victoria began the connection which was to last 
for the rest of her life. Argyll Lodge passed, with the 
death of her father in 1900, out of the number of her 
resting-places, and Lady Victoria's visits to London 
were more intermittent, and the times she spent there 
were always short. Wherever she lodged, her first 


thought was that she should not be far away from 
the church with the name so full of every sacred 
association in her mind. 

When " Professor Pax," with energy and clear- 
sightedness, brought into being the Guilds of Life and 
Work to revivify the Church of Scotland, Lady Victoria 
never rested till all the churches with which she was 
connected had started this powerful machinery of 
Church life. 

The connection with St. Columba's carried her 
back to Crown Court, and she was in helpful relations 
with both the ministers who succeeded Dr. Macleod 
when he went to the Church of St. Columba. She 
was President of the Crown Court Guild and regularly 
addi 3ssed its mothers' meetings ; when her lodging 
for ti^e time being was at Stafford House, her ways 
led her, almost by tradition, to Crown Court Church. 
" Go," she wrote to one whom she thought slack in 
recognition of the Scottish Church, " and see that 
congregation of young men in the evening, and hear 
Mr. Macrae preaching on the characters of the Old 
Testament." She clung to the traditions of the old 
site, and when, a quarter of a century after the 
building of St. Columba, the old Kirk of the Crown was 
rebuilt she was full of regrets. She desired that the 
church furniture should be sent to her for her island 
churches, and she only admitted the renovation 
was right when she entered for the first, and 
as it proved, the last time, the newly dedicated 

In the new church, among the monuments of the 


long past, the women of the congregation have 
raised a Memorial to her, designed by her friend, 
Mr. Ritchie, of Iona. It has the only inscription 
in the Gaelic language among the churches of 
London. In the archives of Crown Court her name 
is placed as a baptized member of the Church of 

None of the congregations of the National Church 
with which she was connected could claim an exclusive 
position in her affections. At Edinburgh, in St. Giles, 
St. Cuthbert's, and St. Michael's, her presence was a 
familiar sight. Her love of all music, but especially 
good Church music, was intense, and she felt the 
inspiration of beautiful architecture. " I weary for 
the beauty of St. Giles, after our Highland barns," 
she would say ; and when in London, the daily service 
in Westminster Abbey, where : — 

" The organ rings 
And the sweet choir sings 
Along the emblazoned wall," 

was a treat she gave herself as often as she could 
manage to go. 

There is no greater mistake than to imagine her 
an intolerant Presbyterian. She had seen too much 
of bigotry and ignorance in Anglicans and Presby- 
terians not to banish it in herself. She was a frequent 
worshipper in the early Communions of the Church 
of England when in London, or when she could not 
get that service in her own church. One of her joys 
was "to keep the great tryst " at the Easter obser- 
vance of the Lord's Supper in St. Giles, and it was 


her deep regret to find herself in her last year in 
London, at Eastertide, with no Communion service 
in St. Columba. The desire she then expressed 
helped Dr. Fleming to institute the keeping of the 
feast, and since her death the Easterday celebration 
has become the established custom. 

Her attitude was one of loyalty and not of preju- 
dice. She believed for herself, and for all those 
who were privileged to be Scots, that the National 
Church was the one they should uphold, and live 
under its organisation and discipline. She knew its 
history. The blood of its martyrs was drawn from 
her own race ; and by every tie patriotic, patriarchal, 
and clannish, she clung to its landmarks and its 

Fortunately, loyalty in Presbyterians leads to no 
narrowing of the channels of grace. For them the 
gates are open in all the Reformed Churches, and 
Lady Victoria found her spiritual food quite as often 
in the liturgy of the Church of England, and in the 
thoughts of the Church Universal, as in the Church of 
her fathers. 

"Ah me ! " she writes to Lady Mary at Peter- 
borough, " what a golden link it is which binds strong 
fibres of one's heart to our mother's Church." 

As well used as her Bible and her Psalm-book 
were Keble's Christian Year, the Confessions of 
St. Augustine, the Imitation of Christ, the works 
of St. Francis of Sales, and Dean Goulburn. 

The year 1890 has the words : " Island of Tiree 
quieted down. A good earnest minister appointed." 


The story of her life is best continued by extracts 
from her letters to Mrs. Macdiarmid and others. 

Feb., 1890. 

My thoughts have many a time gone out to 
you and the wild Tiree, especially since I narrowly 
escaped being wrecked in the Firth of Clyde about 
a month ago. It was that fearful Saturday, with 
high tides. Lord Lome had asked me to join him 
at Rosneath. After two successive boats had tried 
in vain to make for the submerged pier of Kil- 
creggan, we had to put back, amid such remarks 
as : " Think yourself fortunate if you get to 
Gourock. It will be all right if the paddle-wheels 
hold out." I longed for the sturdy " Dunara," 
or " Hebridean." Made up my mind what to do. 
Went off to Dr. Hugh McMillan and wife in 
Greenock. My maid and I arrived 8 p.m., just 
when the gale was at its height, and pleaded for 
admittance, and a right royal welcome they gave 
me. Such a delightful Sunday, and such sermons. 
I felt indeed I had been brought into the haven 
where I fain would be ! I joined Lome next day 
at Rosneath. My conduct by him was voted 
" plucky." My father said : " Monstrous," as he 
was against my starting. I don't quite know 
which version to take. 

April, 1890. 

I heard Dr. Norman Macleod the other day; 
it was a feast ; and if he accepts this call to Inver- 


ness it will be a great strength to our Church, but, 
better still, the cause of the Master. 

Iona. Aug., 1890. 

I walked up to my mother's cross yesterday 
evening, with the setting sun lighting it and the 
grey old Cathedral. I felt calmed and refreshed. 

Nov., 1890. 

I have a great wish to winter some day in Tiree. 


I have offered Colin again to go to India, but 
there is a talk of his coming home. Somehow, 
during these last weeks when I think I have 
honestly been seeking God's guidance, it comes 
clearer and clearer to me that I may be free and 
willing to spend the winter in Tiree. Now, don't 
have a fit ! 

You see, I feel there is a wide sphere for women's 
work. I could see, at all events, if one could 
organise and help. 

June, 1891. 

My father has actually agreed, without any 
demur, to let me try Tiree. I can read between 
the lines ; he thinks I shall not persevere. 

My hope and desire and intention is to stay in Tiree, 
at all events, four months, dating from November. 

Remember, if I have a fire-place which smokes 
not more than needful, a sofa, a tolerable bed, 


means of getting a hot bottle, it is all the luxuries 
I need. 

If I had the language, the health, earlier training, 
I would have gone further afield for mission work. 

Will this quiet you ? Prevent you thinking 
I require all the flesh-pots of Egypt ? 

The " hope and desire " with Lady Victoria always 
meant that action followed, and in 1891 the residences 
in different houses began, till at last the Lodge was 
enlarged, and settled on her as a permanent home. 

The first house which she rented was at Balemar- 
tine, a township in the west end of Tiree ; it was near 
the mass of the people, and it was easy to gather 
her classes round her. In it she lived the four winter 
months, and they were among the very happiest that 
she ever spent on the island. In returning, in after 
years, to see her landlady Mrs. Sinclair, she would bring 
her friends to see " the dear wee rooms." It was a 
two-storied house, with a very steep stair up to her 
bedroom, but such difficulties as these were only 
made light of. In the kitchen department Knowles 
was to begin her long series of culinary successes, 
without all the implements which she had seen in the 
kitchen and still-room of Lady Victoria's home. 
If there was sometimes too much of the spirit of 
" Martha " in Lady Victoria's works for others, she 
had none of it as a housekeeper for herself. 

She had one or two simple " fads," as she called 
them, but if the barrel of meal was full for her friends, 
and the cruse of hot coffee always running for herself 


[ Valentine &■ Sons. 



and guests, she made very light of the difficulties of 
store-room and larder, which perplexed the soul of 
the universal provider downstairs. Knowles was 
to be in far less comfortable quarters before her 
pilgrimage had ended. If Lady Victoria desired to 
remain in a district in any of the islands which she 
visited, there she was determined to find that the 
available houses were quite suitable for her. In one 
region there exists an amusing correspondence between 
her and the factor. 

Negotiations had been begun by her for a cottage 
with no water supply, no sanitation, and to which 
there was no road which any vehicle could use. 

The factor pointed out in a letter all these defects, 
combined with what he thought a demand for a 
rent which was 6ut of proportion to the amenities 
of the place. " The house is surely too much of a 
toyhouse for your ladyship ? " 

The letter is endorsed in her own handwriting : 
" And where is Lady Victoria to go if not to toy- 
houses % " To this there was no answer, and the 
tenant took possession. 

In engaging her maids, she would always laugh- 
ingly inform them that they must be prepared to 
live in " a castle, a manse, a cottage, or a town 

And as she " turned to," and accommodated herself 
with infinite pleasure to all varieties of dwellings, in 
like manner she expected the same joyous acceptance 
on the part of her servants. They did not all enter 
into it with the sense of humour and enterprise with 


which, in one house, Knowles ascended a perpen- 
dicular ladder to her bedroom. 

It was while happy, in at least having got her 
own way as to winter quarters, that Lady Victoria 
made a short attempt at keeping a full diary. The 
few pages that she wrote makes it the more regrettable 
that it was not kept up longer. She never thought 
of her own doings as of interest, and her powers of 
keen observation were of too minute a nature to make 
it easy after the exhaustion of the day's enterprises 
to write of them in detail. 

Diary for Tiree. Winter, 1891-92. Nov. 27th. 

A letter from my father two days ago revealed 
to me how very remiss I have been " in taking 
observations " about things they wish to know 
about, bird life, etc. 

The chief reason of this has been the sense of 
pressure of time, until I get all the classes for girls 
fairly set in motion before the weather breaks up. 
Up till now it is true, as the people put it : "I 
have been very fortunate " in this. We have had 
one storm from the south-east, which prevented 
the mail-boat reaching us on the day she left 
Oban ; but by dint of anchoring in Gott Bay, 
she managed to call the following day and land the 
mail-bag. Five young men went out to her when 
it was scarcely daybreak. Something on the ship's 
side caught the little boat and capsized her. All 
five were saved, although none could swim. One 
was the son of the old pilot MacDonald, who has 


another one lying very ill with abscess in the region 
of the lung. The doctor, the only medical help in 
the island, is laid up with an injured knee, unable 
for the last week to go to anyone. 

I think his last visit was to Mr. Campbell of 
East End Manse, who died very suddenly on the 
21st, at midnight. 

He has been minister for thirty years, but for 
the last ten totally bedridden. When the messenger 
came to the Moss Church with the news, I had a 
strange sensation which I feel can never pass 

There was a little crowd waiting to see me get 
into the Buckboard, not yet quite accustomed 
to the sight of it, nor of the small occupant. I was 
much shocked when, at last, I caught the name of 
who it was who had gone away, for I had been with 
him the previous Monday, and he was so affection- 
ate, and gave me such a hearty grip of the hand 
in leaving, that I little thought that the end was so 
near. I told him and his sisters I would try and 
go to him every ten days or fortnight. There was 
"a hush" among the people, as there was to-day. 

I was much struck with the scene at the funeral. 
An ideal winter's day, with gorgeous snowy clouds 
here and there, while the whole outline of the other 
islands was clear, the Mull hills covered with snow. 

The sun shone out on the mass of men gathered 
round the coffin, which was placed on chairs outside 
the Manse, while Mr. McLean, the parish minister 
of Hylipol, gave an earnest Gaelic address, which 


I was glad to find I could " take up," more than 
I have been able to do on the two Sundays I have 
had as yet. Then he read the 90th Psalm, 
and Mr. Hector McKinnon prayed ; one felt it 
was a prayer which carried the people with him. 
The proof of this was emphatically given in the 
almost involuntary " Amen," unfortunately too 
little heard in our Scottish silent gatherings. 

The two sisters, Mrs. Wallace and Mrs. McLean, 
with her husband, stood at the head, and after the 
prayer the coffin was beautifully lifted by Mr. 
Macdiarmid, the two ministers, Mr. McKay, of the 
Free Church, and in this way it would be carried 
by relays to the Kirkapol Churchyard. The women 
followed for a little way, while I turned back into 
the dark, dreary Manse. The Gaelic servant 
busied herself about me, most touching in her 
attentions ; but I felt, after that long stand and 
the stony feeling which always comes upon me 
on such occasions, as if all strength was gone, and 
I hurried away as soon as Archie brought round 
the Buckboard. The lovely drive home was 
refreshing, right into the sea across the sandy 
bay, as the tide was coming in fast. 

The said Archie produced a revulsion of feeling at 
my cottage door so that I nearly laughed. Looking 
at the little bracelet watch, which I put upon the 
Buckboard to keep him punctual, he said : "All 
the Funerals were looking at the watch," meaning 
the men who had come to the funeral. I got in, 
too tired to think of much else but the sofa, hot 


water to the feet, and tea. I got my cold a little 
worse, and I was indoors till Wednesday, 18th, 
which was wet and stormy. I only knew after- 
wards, when the old pilot MacDonald came to 
see me, that we had narrowly that day escaped a 

The accident to the boat which went out to the 
steamer has led to a fresh agitation about having 
the pier. Two-thirds of the money has been pro- 
mised by the Government as a grant. When at 
Dunstaffrage, Colonel E. Malcolm asked to see 
me alone, and advocated the advance of the rest 
of the capital. It is amusing, if it were not pro- 
voking, to see the implicit trust in " capital " 
which the people have, while they abuse those who 
have it. In the same way making use of the farms 
to buy their stock, while at the same time, in their 
meetings, advocating their overthrow. 

This Pilot is a character. When asked if the men 
who were so desirous of a pier could give something 
towards it, in labour at least, he said : " No, there 
was no chance of it unless it was at Hynish, the 
place which would suit the fishermen. When I 
said : " That is hardly a Christian view," he 
promptly replied : " Christian, or no Christian, 
it is the fact. We can a" be Christians when we 
like." Which statement I had to acknowledge was 
often too true. When I said it was too bad the 
young men here should not know how to swim, 
he stoutly maintained, and gave instance after 
instance of boats upset, all going to prove that the 


men who could swim were the lost ones ; those 
who could not, the ones saved. 

Here, again, it was impossible to deny the fact, 
seeing that his ideas on the subject were drawn from 
one or two instances in which all had clung on to 
two young men who could swim, and so had dragged 
them down, while the non-swimmers had naturally 
acted on the principle of sauve qui feut, on pieces 
of wood, or whatever came to hand. 

On the 19th I met at Island House for tea and 
consultation some of the working members of the 
Y. W.C. A. We agreed to open sewing-classes for girls 
in Moss, to be held at Island House, Cornaig, Mannal, 
Baugh, Kirkapol. This, with my Bible-class on 
Friday, makes six classes. Fine for clothing club 
and Foreign Mission works. I have, since that 
meeting, spoken to seventy-nine girls, all keen and 
eager to join. I feel the workers all too few, 
although one great difference between this and 

is the way in which there seem several so 

willing, only waiting for guidance and organisation. 
Another great rest is the willingness of the four 
ministers — two Established, Baptist, and Free 
Church, to help and co-operate. 

All Saturday, 28th, it blew hard from the south- 
east, with torrents of rain. No question of going 
out. Did not see a creature except the servants, 
but got through a great deal of writing. 

Sunday I thought all was right for going to 
the Moss Church, but a sudden gust of wind 
propelled the Buckboard so that the shaft struck 


the ground, and it has split right up. I managed 
to walk a little later on to the Baptist Church, 
where Mr. Macfarlane preached at some length in 
English as well as in Gaelic, for the benefit of myself 
and of Miss Martin from the lighthouse. 

To-day I started in Mr. Macdiarmid's gig, as the 
Buckboard was under repair. Then to see the 
school people. Then tea at Margaret Maclean's, 
and the opening meeting in young Mrs. McKinnon's 
house, where ten girls were assembled. I got back 
here 5.45. It was a dreich night, and as we came 
across the reef in the dusk it seemed like a kind 
of Sahara. 

The larks keep up a kind of song here all the 
winter. I saw some ringed dotterels, and heaps of 
curlews. The golden plovers are in quantities, 
and great flocks of starlings. 

Bee. 1st. 

Raining and blowing hard from the south. No 
mail-boat again. Only as far as Island House. 
Began " Life of Carstares." 

Dec. 2nd. 

Sent Knowles in Buckboard with messages to 
brush off some " Martha " cobwebs. She is working 
beautifully, and behaving generally like an old 
brick. I stayed quiet till the second sewing-class 
at Mannal. About twenty-five present. Very 
late ; seemed to think it a matter of no consequence 
if they were at least half an hour late ; but I pro- 


tested, and, I think, with some effect, as one of 
the Bible-class arrived this evening a little before 
six o'clock. 

Dec. 3rd. 

All day indoors. Wanted to send a telegram 
in afternoon, answering a business question from 
Edinburgh, a week old to-day. Archie tells me the 
telegraph wire is broken, and even if it had not been 
I could not have sent it, as it blew and rained too 
hard to admit of him or the horse going. Of 
course, the mail-boat has failed us. 

Mr. Macdiarmid has sent me the Duke's statement 
of facts about the pier question. Quite excellent. 
It will meet the case, in showing the people he is 
quite as willing as they are to have it. Indeed, 
more so, inasmuch as they openly say they wont 
assist with labour, though I believe they are 
prepared with pier dues. 

Dec. 4th. 

Awoke with violent neuralgic headache. Kept 
quiet till eleven, when I got downstairs ; and, as 
the pain lifted after luncheon, I got to Island 
House to begin, as I had promised, Mrs. Macdiar- 
mid's sewing-class, she not being well this week. 

The meeting was summoned at 3.30 p.m., but 
they kept dropping in till 4.30, when I had to leave 
for my own class. This feature of unpunctuality 
is a great trial in island life. The evening was 
comparatively calm, but looked as if it would blow 


up again, and so it did, but subsided again, and 
to-day we have had " & quiet day." I walked to 
young Miss Donald this afternoon, while the Buck- 
board went for the Macdiarmid children, to whom 
I intend, whenever possible, to devote Saturday 
afternoon. It was a lovely little walk. The sun 
came out, blue strips of sky, and the larks singing 
in the peculiar winter way they have here. 

Dec. 10th. 

At Hylipol Church. Not out again. Mr. McLean 
came in for tea and to discuss local work, classes, 

Dec. 11th. 

Glorious day. Visited Mannal in the morning. 
Struck with the people's gratitude for one going 
in to see them. They are mostly parents or 
relations of girls belonging to my Bible-class. 
In the afternoon opened the Cornaig Y.W.C.A. 
Mrs. McKinnon, the schoolmistress, tried to accom- 
modate us in the parlour, where she had put on a 
fire, but by the time we had sung the first hymn 
we found we must adjourn to the school-house, 
where we settled to hold our weekly sewing-class, 
chiefly for Foreign Missions. An Aberdonian 
assistant teacher is the life of this division. 

I have been laughing over the blessing there 
seems to be in connection with this Cornaig meeting, 
for the evening both last week and again yesterday 
was too beautiful. Bright moonlight, with Jupiter 


very bright. The afterglow still lingering, while 
from a deep bank of cloud the Skerryvore Light- 
house kept flashing out. 

Visited upper Balamartine in the morning, and 
one there, who encourages four sons to settle down 
with her on one small croft. I could not help it, 
but broke out, and told one of the sons that my 
brothers never thought of such a thing. It is a 
typical case, for he might make his way as a 
mechanic, being a singularly handy lad, but he 
protested he could not live upon what they gave 
him, or would give him while being apprenticed : 
four shillings a week. Little enough, it is true, 

but I can see that M , who went to considerable 

trouble about it, thinks he could have got on quite 
well by getting plenty of meal and potatoes from 

One could cry sometimes at the do-lessness of 
the spirit. 

Here the diary breaks off. Hers was not the spirit 
of do-lessness, and it was the only spirit that made her 
inclined to cry. The keen energy of her nature could 
never understand an unenterprising spirit in others, 
and it caused the impatience which she felt she had 
to restrain as what she called a besetting sin. Even 
diary-keeping was crowded out of her time, always 
so full of urgent calls for the moment. Nearly a 
year elapses, and then the diary is kept for yet 
another page or two. 


Nov. 24th, 1892. 

It seems strange to be beginning again, after 
a year of making the first feeble attempt at a Tiree 
journal, but the truth is, I was too done after the 
day's work to go on with it. The work crowded 
upon me. The need of organisation in the Y.W.C.A. 
besides the current work of conducting the classes 
and visiting the people, setting on foot also mothers' 
meetings, all seemed too much to overtake. 

This year, I think, all will be easier, and I propose 
only to enter the items of visits paid, and classes 
attended, etc. 

Landed from Bunessan on the 17th. Saw 
Mr. Maclean that evening ; decided upon opening 
the five Y.W.C.A. classes. 

Sunday, 20th. 

Hylipol Church. " Have faith in God," the text 
of the sermon. 

Nov. 2Uh. 

Visited Doctor's wife. Spoke of nurse. I feel 
this is a subject we must get settled. It is dis- 
graceful, such a large island should be without a 
sick-nurse. Went after Y.W.C.A. girls who ought 
to be in church if not at class ! 

Went to see . Met with a great disappointment 

here. Found she had embraced strong Plym views, 
which I feel will, to say the least, cripple her useful- 
ness, as she seems taken up with the thought of 
who is fit to worship with. She continues with the 


Sunday School. It is to be hoped she will not teach 
the children to despise the ministry. 

Class at Moss. Only three present. A dreary 
night, and it said much for the kindness of Mac- 
donald and his sister that they gave me tea, fresh 
hot water for the bottle, as they were not settled 
in their house, and the chimneys were smoking. 

Sunday, 27th. 
At Moss Church, and in Baptist church in evening. 

Nov. 28th. 

Pouring day. Caught in regular gale returning 
from Cornaig. Not one present, but spent time in 
talking over Guild with Margaret Maclean, and 
getting to know Mrs. Mackinnon. Visited Mrs. 
Wallace, who gave me tea, a Gaelic lesson, then 
C.C. ; seven present. 

The vigil of the year 1891 was kept by her alone 
in her cottage, and she writes a brief note : " The 
old year going out to the sound of the sea. Girls 
meeting at Kirkapol. Leaving parcels for people." 


" ETHIC A " 

u Here with her face doth memory sit 
Awhile, and wait the day's decline, 
Till other eyes shall look from it, 
Eyes of the Spirit's Palestine, 
Even than the old gaze tenderer : 
While hopes and aims long lost with her 
Stand round her image side by side, 
Like tombs of pilgrims that have died 
About the Holy Sepulchre." 

As early as 1891 Lady Victoria notes down " beginning 
pier agitation/' and the diary of that winter contains 
allusions to some of the many difficulties. The 
need of a pier was brought home to her every time 
that she landed, or with other passengers waited long 
hours about the harbour of Scarinish, doubtful 
whether the steamer would He- to, or the cargo-boat 
go out to meet her. 

Passengers are never the first thought in the ways of 
Hebridean steamers, and if the embarkation of human 
beings was always difficult, and sometimes dangerous, 
the same held good of the transit of the numerous 
flocks and herds, which year by year had to be 

The western Celt and Government departments 
have at least one thing in common. If there are 


238 " ETHICA " 

difficulties, and differences of opinion as to the right 
course, then a policy of masterly inactivity is the 
one that they pursue. If the Land League had taken 
the line of agitating for the proper development of 
the resources of the island, and threatened the hang- 
ing of officials in the Scottish Office and the Board 
of Trade, their agitation might have served the pur- 
pose of drawing attention to their real wants and felt 

Land Leagues seldom consider the benefit of the 
community, and the comforts of the Government 
yacht blinded the eyes of the Secretaries of State, 
who came over summer seas to view the Hebrides. 
They never had to lie awake through the hurricanes 
of winter, or watch, as Lady Victoria said she did 
from her bed, " to see the Fingal coming in on her 
hind legs/ 5 McBrayne's steamers are run for profit, 
and on no humanitarian or philanthropic principle. 
Tiree was never a paying port of call, and, in one 
sense, the islanders were thankful to possess in the 
weekly service the advantages given them. 

If the tourist traffic lasted longer, or went off the 
beaten track, no doubt steamers run to the Hebridean 
isles would, ere now, have had more of the decencies 
and comforts of civilisation. In the modern boats 
these are more observed in respect of first-class 
passengers, but the Company has much to answer 
for in the boats they send, and the overcrowding 
and discomfort to which they subject the girls and 
women they convey to the mainland, for the work 
of the fishing season. It is a yearly and regular 

" ETHICA " 239 

business, presumably it is one of profit, and the 
Company consider the conditions under which the 
women make their long voyages far less than they 
would do the safe stowing of valuable stock. 

However, this is a review of " McBrayne's Fleet " 
as a whole, and not only from the standpoint of Tiree. 
Had Lady Victoria lived in the outer Hebrides she 
would, no doubt, have been as urgent in levelling 
up the standard of comfort, as she was in pressing 
the claims of the storm-tossed natives of the islands, 
whose transits she so often shared. If the McBrayne 
steamers left something to be desired, she never 
grumbled while a passenger on them. The captains 
of that fleet were all her friends, and many a message 
they sped for her, and many a device they used for 
her comfort. 

There is a story of one of these friends in need, 
not unworthy of record. He had Lady Victoria on 
board as a passenger during a night voyage. The sea 
was rough, and the ship was rolling, as only a Hebri- 
dean steamer knows how to roll. He remembered 
the narrow, unprotected bunk on which she was 
lying, and though sea -sickness rarely added to her 
discomforts, he knew she would find it hard to retain 
her position. 

When free to come down from the bridge he 
entered her cabin, and found himself opposite the 
laughing countenance, and the dangerous instability 
of the helpless figure. " Give me hold of a rope, 
and throw my legs after me," was a command she 
would give the seamen, as the boat approached the 

240 " ETHICA " 

side of the steamers. It was the same principle 
which guided her anxious friend. He hastily attached 
to the low ceiling above her a pair of his braces, 
and on their support Lady Victoria steadied herself 
till the steamer reached more sheltered waters. As 
her journeys were usually made in the winter, " fearful 
tossing " was the common record, though, when she 
could say " a heavenly calm," it was written in 
with great "remembrance of mercies received." 

The mail-boat calls at Tiree, winter or summer, 
three times a week, between five and six in the morn- 
ing. The steamer always " passes," but there are 
many mornings when the mails and passengers in 
the cargo-boat cannot go out to her, and this may 
happen for a week, or ten days in succession. Very 
often it turns on the number of young men present, 
and willing to take a hand, and with two or more 
men at each oar, they assist the agent of McBrayne, 
to get the boat out of the narrow straits of Scarinish 
Harbour to the steamer. 

If it were not for the voluntary aid of these men 
half the days in the winter the island would be 
without a mail, for the one man and a half, which 
represent McBrayne's crew for the cargo - boat, 
could never face alone the wind that drives a fierce 
sea into the funnel-shaped entrance to Scarinish. 

" No one knows," she has said, " the depths into 
which we go when the mails are not landed ; on the 
other hand, they can never rise to the heights that 
we reach when we know that the steamer has effected 
their landing." Lady Victoria used to say that in the 

" ETHICA " 241 

Lodge she had a barometer over her bed. There 
was a special slate in the roof ; if it rattled, she 
knew that the wind was furiously from that quarter, 
which would prevent the steamer lying off, or the 
boat going out to her. 

There were occasions when Lady Victoria could 
take no risks. Some imperative call from her family 
had reached her, or she wished to keep " the great 
tryst " in Edinburgh. To get away on a certain date 
was a necessity. If the boat could go out to the 
steamer she would be in it, but she not infrequently 
accomplished her journey by doubling part of it, in 
the following manner. 

The ways of the mail-boat are full of mystery, 
but its course is regularly irregular. It calls at 
Tiree with the mails at any hour between noon and the 
early afternoon. It then crosses to Bunessan, in 
Mull, one of the finest harbours in Scotland, and lies 
there till early next morning, when " it rolls back " 
to Tiree, and picks up the mails and passengers. 
Lady Victoria, in stormy weather, would get on board 
the day the mails were landed, go for the night to 
Bunessan harbour, and come back to Tiree the next 
morning, secure against the risk of the boat not being 
able to get to the steamer with the outgoing mails. 

Oban is reached " some time," and occasionally 
Lady Victoria would stay the night. More often she 
pushed on : if to Inveraray, she posted the sixteen 
miles from Dalmally ; and if " to the Holy City," 
she would thankfully record the arrival about ten 
at night. 

242 " ETHICA " 

Such journeys are tiring, even to the strength of 
those who can move about, and, if on the steamers, 
shift their outlook. For her, once on the seats of the 
dim narrow cabins, she rarely moved. Twenty-four 
and thirty-six hours was she often on board, storm- 
staid here, and delayed there, " aching from the hard- 
ness of the seats," she would write, but never daunted, 
frightened, or bored. If the seas were " beyond 
anything," she had the captains down to report, 
and their assurance it was a breeze, or a dead calm, 
when she was hanging on to the ropes placed in her 
way, was enough for her. She had confidence in 
her guides through the deep, and she knew the routes 
too well, and had experienced the ways of the steamers 
too often, to do more than ask the officials at the 
Board of Trade how long the " Fingal " was to be 
run over the waste waters of the deep. Unfortunately, 
the " Fingal," small and desperately un-up-to-date 
in all its fittings, was a good sea-boat from the point 
of view of the department, and she was not taken off 
the route till near the end of the days when she was 
needed by Lady Victoria. 

There were other grievances and calls for a pier. 
Perhaps before these are described, some further 
account may be given of what these landings at Tiree 
meant for those who assisted Lady Victoria, as well 
as for herself. Mr. Macdiarmid was always present 
to welcome, or to speed her on her way. For many 
a long hour he waited for the steamer, and on many 
occasions the waiting was in the dark wild nights, 
when the getting of the able-bodied on and off the 

- ETHICA " 243 

boat was no mean feat. Mr. Macdiarmid has written 
a short account of some of the many adventures, 
which extended over a period of twenty years. 

The landing and embarking in Tiree was always 
a source of anxiety and care to those assisting 
Lady Victoria, but, as a rule, she was singularly 
fortunate with the weather conditions, and when 
there was a heavy cargo to land, the steamer 
people were very obliging in sending her ashore 
before the cargo. 

I remember one trying landing. It was getting 
dark, and there was a good deal of swell on the 
sea. It was dead low water, and when the boat 
came to the shore, it could not get near either of 
the small piers at Scarinish. There was nothing 
for it but to run the boat in as far as possible on 
the beach, and get the horse and buckboard 
through the water to the stranded boat. The boat, 
being a heavy one, the water alongside was deep ; 
the horse became frightened, one of the traces 
broke, and there was a great commotion. 

Willing hands, however, plunged into the water. 
The horse was quieted, and with great efforts we 
got Lady Victoria transferred from the boat to 
the buckboard, and all was well. 

There was real danger, because if she were to 
fall between the boat and the buckboard, the water 
was so deep that she might be suffocated before 
she could be rescued, on account of the plunging 

244 " ETHICA " 

I was really very nervous, and wrote the late 
Duke about the danger of her landing in Tiree 
at all hours. 

The last landing was on a very dark night, with 
heavy rain. One time she was anxious to get 
away from Tiree, and when the steamer arrived 
at Scarinish it was so stormy that no boat could 
go out. The steamer went round to Gott Bay, 
and launched one of her boats. The surf was so 
strong that the boat could not get near the rocks. 
It was run up on a sandy beach, men standing in 
the water steadied it, the horse and buckboard 
were driven through the water to the side of the 
boat, and with great difficulty we managed to get 
her into it, to our great relief. 

Another time she was leaving Tiree. The 
steamer was to be at Scarinish in the evening. 
We were all there, but the steamer did not arrive. 
We sat up all night in the Hotel, and the steamer 
only arrived some time next day. 

On another occasion we arrived at the side of 
the steamer, and it was so full of sheep that the 
regular gangways could not be opened. The only 
way to get on board was by an opening in the railing 
on the quarter-deck. The quarter-deck was high 
above the boat. I had to lift her on my shoulder, 
and two men above took her arms and lifted her 
on deck. 

These are only a few instances of the many 
landings at Tiree, and with good fortune there 
was no accident. 

" ETHICA M 245 

She was always very plucky, and never com- 

These unadorned facts leave much to the imagina- 
tion, and only those who have seen an ordinary 
landing in a gentle swell can conjure up the scenes 
here narrated by Mr. Macdiarmid. He, and those who 
always went out to help Lady Victoria, made light 
of their wet and difficult task, not made easier by 
the deep anxiety which was experienced by one and all. 
It was never increased by her attitude. She had 
complete confidence in the strong arms and warm 
hearts which were welcoming her arrival. " As she 
never saw fear," she did not understand why others 
should fear for her. " You seem all very cheerful," 
she said to Mr. Macdiarmid and his band of helpers, 
as they effected her landing for the last time in the 
drenching rain, and " pit mirk," of a winter's night. 

" We are glad to have you safe on shore," was an 
answer whose deep thankfulness she hardly realised. 
No one was ever injured through these years, but 
no life would have been grudged among her friends 
had her own peril needed it. This she felt, and her 
love of the adventure, her reliance on the well-known 
figures that came in the boat and waited her landing 
on the shore, were her strong confidence, and the only 
reward her friends ever asked or needed from her. 

The landing in Gott Bay, to which Mr. Macdiarmid 
alludes, was that which dwells with especial vivid- 
ness in the mind of Knowles, and allusion to it has 
already been made. 

246 " ETHICA " 

"It is not fit for your Ladyship," was a well- 
worn expostulation, and only added to the humours 
of the day. " Don't say anything about it," was the 
answer she always received, and Knowles knew by 
the experience of revolving years that it was not 
of the slightest use to say anything for or against 
such transits. 

Gott Bay was a spot where landings could often 
be effected when Scarinish Harbour was impossible. 
The aggravation of seeing the mails pass and passen- 
gers return to their distant dwellings was much 
enhanced by knowing that, but for the red-tape which 
binds the Post Office and its contracts, the mails 
might often have rejoiced the hearts of the storm- 
staid, if both harbours had been available. 

One captain, who was a native of Tiree, managed 
to achieve greater things in this way than others 
who had no great desire to lie off Tiree in a contrary 
wind ; and Gott Bay was to be the site of that pier 
Lady Victoria rejoiced to see running out into the 
sea, but which she was never destined to tread. 

Every bit of the construction of the pier meant 
as great a battle with the powers that be, as the 
engineers were to fight later on with the foundations, 
and against the tides and storms of the site. 

Through it all Lady Victoria led. Her unresting 
pen brought the island within the practical politics 
of the Offices of State. The official forms of " do- 
nothingness " were hurled in vain at her. Impor- 
tunity she understood as an art, and unjust judges 
of every sphere and scope fell wearied at her feet. 

" ETHICA " 247 

She enlisted the interest of the shooting tenants, 
and Lord Elphinstone enclosed her a letter from the 
Postmaster- General with the comment : "I am 
afraid we can give up all hope of ever seeing the 
' Fingal ' running into Gott Bay." The letter is 
endorsed by Lady Victoria as " Last try." 

Genekal Post Office, London. Jan., 1905. 

In the letter which you and Mr. Cobbold sent 
to me on the 16th ultimo, reference is made to 
the landing of mails at Tiree. In this connection 
I may inform you that I have already considered 
the question of arranging for the mail-steamer 
to call at Gott Bay on occasions when, owing to 
stress of weather, a landing cannot be effected at 
Scarinish. It appears, however, that no proper 
provision is made for landing at Gott Bay ; no 
ferry-boat is kept in the Bay, and there is not even 
a boat-slip. 

Moreover, the "Fingal" has a small crew, and 
if a boat were lowered to land passengers and 
mails at Gott Bay, the crew left on the steamer 
would not be sufficient to work her. 

The captain of the " Fingal " does not think it 
safe to attempt to effect a landing at Gott Bay, 
when the weather is too bad to admit of a call made 
at Scarinish, and I do not consider it advisable 
to interfere with his discretion in the matter. 

Two years later an understanding and more sym- 
pathetic Post Office surveyor writes to her from 
Edinburgh : — 

248 " ETHICA " 

After seeing the difficulty in embarking at Scari- 
nish on Saturday morning, I can quite understand 
the desire for improvement. 

Perhaps had the authorities of Post Office and 
steamer company been less rigid, the impulse which 
drew so many together for the construction of the 
pier in Gott Bay would have been less active. In 
1908, when a better type of steamer was at last 
launched, Lady Victoria, with the pier nearer in 
sight, wrote a letter to the papers. As usual, the 
things that lay behind pressed heavily on her pen, 
but it is a vivid, if allusive, presentment of past 
troubles and future hopes. 


July, 1908. 

More than one paragraph in the well-known 
" Oban Times " has greeted the debut of the new 
mail-steamer " Lochiel." None of them give an 
adequate idea of the pathetic surprise, the rejoicing, 
while trembling lest this priceless boon of an up-to- 
date steamer should be withdrawn, after years of 
pleading that a quicker vessel than the far-famed 
" Fingal " would mitigate late summer posts, and 
long periods of detention for passengers, on a 
vessel originally designed for inner waters. 

Knots of people gathered to witness the 
" LochieFs " arrival. School children will re- 
member the year when one of the " popular " fleet 
approached the shores even with ease in our 

" ETHICA " 249 

summer gales, during two of which it was impossible 
for the cargo-boat to go out to her. 

When the pier is built on the spot designated 
by our Viking forefathers, the prowess of the 
" Lochiel," with its well-tried captain and crew, 
will find their efforts crowned with success. 

Those who have been born and bred in islands, 
to whom a boat by oar or sail is " Home," who 
watch, year in and year out, the effect of gales 
on this isle, called by our great magician " wild," 
even as he named Coruisk " lone," realise how 
much is in a name. They marvel why a pier 
should not stand with the application of the latest 
engineering science. 

Some of the cold water which greets the scheme 
proceeds from the artist who fears the motor 
might be landed ! This would indeed be a shock 
to the maternal " Tern," who wheels and shrieks 
over the horses. But the fear is remote. Others, 
again, may have a sigh for the good old days when 
goods were dumped, forgetting the rats, the long 
detention in sheds, the frequent carrying past. 
The return journey of miles, for pigs or sheep, 
not to mention an occasional broken leg of animals, 
comes to greater expense than pier dues. 

But these last critics are few and far between. 
The native islanders, whose knowledge of their 
coast, whose pluck in going out to meet the steamers 
a few years ago, evoked the heartiest commen- 
dation from the Lifeboat Commissioners, are 
united in the resolve that the time for talking is 

250 " ETHICA " 

past, the time for action is come. It is to be hoped 
that every encouragement will be given to the 
scheme to help those who have contributed no 
mean share in men to our public services. 

By their efforts three regular steamers are 
kept going. It is to be hoped the valiant, but 
wholly inadequate, steamer " Fingal " will now 
form an honoured monument in the Exhibition, 
while one with greater speed will be accorded, 
which will help matters. It will not only suit 
our summer visitors, but those for whose sake the 
Government of 1886 was approached to open 
up the island by more frequent mail communica- 

In some parts of the islands, hitherto dependent 
on the old Hutchinson's steamers, the railway and 
motors have come nearer. (It is, however, for- 
gotten that neither of these can cross the sands !) 
No such plea can be urged in excuse for the 
" Granary of the West." Neither tunnel nor 
viaduct will disturb the steamer monopoly, but 
neither the difficulties nor the facilities can be 
gauged by men who dwell in pleasant harbours, 
when not in City offices, surrounded with tele- 
phone wires, etc. 

It requires a Plimsoll, or a George Aberdeen, 
who determined to experience for themselves what 
they had to legislate upon. 

Alas ! We see not their successors. 

A Hebeidean. 

" ETHICA " 251 

The building of the pier might make a lay as long 
as the one on " the keeping of the bridge." By slow 
processes and strenuous exertions the Scottish Office 
and all the necessary powers were upheaved, and Lord 
Archibald and Lady Victoria and the parish minister, 
Mr. Gillies, who had done such excellent work in 
the cause, saw the first sod cut in the year 1909, 
and for her last winter in the island, from her bedroom 
eyrie, Lady Victoria's " longing eyes were blessed " 
with the vision of the works. 

The story must now turn back to her earlier 
residences in the island. 

The year 1893 was darkened to her by the loss of 
Lady Emma, and she had the additional burden 
of having to arrange for the break-up of the homes 
so associated with most of her life. The winter before 
her death, Lady Emma had written to her from the 
house of her oldest friend, Mrs. Paisley, at Helens- 
burgh. The house was close to Ardencaple Castle, 
Lady Emma's birthplace. 

It is a vision of the Gareloch over which she was 
gazing, and remembering " the dear bairny " of 
langsyne, who was fulfilling that dedication made 
beside Lady Emma in the days of her childhood. 

The letters of 1892, and the thoughts in her diary 
for that year and 1893, are placed here. 

From Lady, Emma McNeill. 
Helensburgh. Aug., 1892. 
My dearest V., 

Here I am. Thankful not to have to face the 

252 " ETHICA " 

storm. This house is so close to the shore it might 
be a fixed bathing-house, and one feels as if in a 
ship. I watch the squalls coming up from beyond 
the Cloch Lighthouse, and think how you would 
have defied weather, and gone your way. The sea- 
gulls run about the shore, with their dainty white 
garments unsoiled by mud and sand, and look like 
scattered pearls from a broken string ; and then 
some rise, and one sees the gleam of strong sunshine 
on them as they fly. 

The crowds of Ardencaple crows come down, 
and I look at them as relatives I had lost sight of, 
and who do not acknowledge me. White waves 
roll in, and there is the ceaseless wail of wind and 
sea. Yes, I rejoice " there shall be no more sea," 
as we know it. Only the glory of the sea of glass, 
mingled with fire. " Brightness and strength, not 
change and desolation." 

Expect me if the day is fairly calm, not other- 
wise ; I am not heroic. 

Tiree. Feb., 1892. 

My dear Mrs. Macdiarmid, 

I had looked forward to a talk with you the 
end of the week, but I felt an extra pressure upon 
me, feeling that the efforts of the past month for 
the young women must be put into shape, so that 
the best for them may be done. 

I hope a helpful monthly meeting may be 
provided for them. May we not hope that some 
who are groping their way may be led into de- 

" ETHICA " 253 

cision ? Some who are sitting at ease, waiting for 
this wonderful experience called " conversion " 
with folded hands, may be led to see that it has 
something to do with the will ? 

Lastly, I feel how erroneously we may and must 
judge each other " whiles/' so that, while being 
careful, I think we should hail all earnest willing- 
heartedness. . . . 

Were a local guild to be started here to-morrow, 
it would be to teach the women (not only the young 
ones) the duty of Church life. I don't mean 
" sectarian " life, but being members of some one 
Church (however much they might go out to others), 
and doing the work of that Church before going out 
to other duties. . . . 

We have four ministers who unite in all Evangel- 
istic effort, and who have bound themselves to 
withstand, as far as possible, our accursed drinking 
customs. They have, and particularly the two 
young ministers, special difficulties to contend 
with. I hope they will see their way to have Bible- 
classes after the work-classes close, if not before. 
When the classes have learnt something of discipline, 
coming even in time, or on regular days ! 

I feel we are privileged to be what I have long 
maintained the Y.W. should, a " feeder to the 
Church of God." 

In sounding the W.M., the replies have all been : 
" It would have such a good effect upon the girls. 
It would show them that the ministers took an 
interest, and so forth." 

254 " ETHICA " 

I have never had to deal with the same state of 
things at once so dark and yet so bright. 

The bright, in having such ministers. The 
dark, the utter disuse of all Church congregational 
life amongst the young. No spirit of chivalry 
or honour about it, but I think it is coming. 

Last year increases my love for the all-denomina- 
tional work, as it brings me in touch with all. 
Most amusing touch — with the Episcopalians of 
this county ! But, as I wrote to our present 
President, Miss Hay, apropos of the Foreign 
Mission controversy, I should resign to-morrow, 
if I could not do my duty when possible as a member 
of a church. . . . 

When one thinks you may be away next winter, 
and I may never come back. (I allude to the 
uncertainties of life, especially with this influenza.) 
Even if a Y.W. could overtake all the girls, which 
it never could, I feel the path before us is no longer 
one of perplexity, but one of lucid clearness, if 
we be willing to follow it. . . . 

I chortle in the thought that perhaps Tiree will 
take the lead in what they were considering in 
Conference the other day in Edinburgh. If ever 
Guilds be started, that they may be linked on to 
our great Y.W., not only in the Island, bringing 
us all to know and love one another, but ensuring 
for our girls the protective aid, as well as the minis- 
terial guidance. 

This brings me to the last point. Somehow or 

" ETHICA " 255 

other, we must have discipline maintained, as far 
as possible, in the Y.W. 

I don't mean only the W.M. ; I am meeting all 
the senior girls separately this week, and I mean 
to speak plainly. I have been leading up to it 
all these weeks. The same reason which made 
me join the Y.W. (here, again, Guilds cannot help 
us, or compete or distract) and made Frances 
take the Presidentship of the Travellers' Aid, when 
London was ringing with the dangers to which 
girls were exposed, had kindled within me the 
flame which, I hope, will never die. It made me 
refuse to join the Girls' Friendly, namely, we must 
remember the girls' bringing-up, their greater 
temptations. The constant example set of low 
tone about such things. Fancy E. saying to 
Knowles : " No one thinks anything of it here." 

I have long known that one of the reasons that 
noble minister, Mr. McRury, suffered was his 
fidelity regarding this matter, as well as in refusing 
his church for the Land League. 

If the Christian women of this and other islands 
were asked to do nothing else of work in the great 
Harvest Field, this would fill their heads and hearts. 

Forgive this long letter, but I wanted in all love 
and faithfulness to show you why your speech 
pained and worried me. " The work you were sure 
would go down after I left." \ou have prayed for 
blessing for years. Do you not expect the answer ? 
From the moment Mr. MacLean, as minister of 
this parish, welcomed me and the Y.W., and told 

256 " ETHICA " 

me he was praying for a blessing on the work, I 
knew we should have it, in accordance with the 
Master's promise. 

Yours affectionately, 

V. Campbell. 

To Mrs. Macdiarmid. Argyll Lodge. 


I cannot tell you what joy it is to me to hear 
of all going so well, not but what I thought it 
would. I never had such a solemn sense of God 
working with us, or rather through us. 

Lome writes now that my father is a British 
Duke, I am to be made Female Tetrarch of Tiree. 
I have replied, I think a Scottish Duke quite as 
good as British. He will get my letter at Windsor, 
and I can but hope he won't repeat it to the Queen ! 


I have a sense of blank, now that I cannot follow 
the days as they come round with the various 
meetings. I am sure you will all remember that 
during the summer months, when words which 
have been spoken or read may come home with 
fresh power, how important it is to be, what they 
call here in the south, " aggressive." We High- 
landers especially are slow to express our diffi- 
culties or longings, but a loving, sympathetic 
word, delivered, as Dr. Saphir used to say, " in 
the Master's tone," because we have been " with 
Him," will be blessed to many. 


" ETHICA " 257 

Last Thursday I was in that crowded Hall 
listening to Moody, and as those hymns went 
up from the thousands, with our two respective 
Moderators-elect, Dr. Blaikie and Dr. Charteris, 
taking part, I felt there was no reason why our 
Islands should not be as glad and as thankful, 
if they will receive the simple message of Life 
now in Christ, which must have as its consequence 
a life of consecration and service. 

May, 1892. 

When I was in Tiree I got a letter from one of 
the Argyllshire secretaries asking me to remember 
I was district Referee, and there were other places 
besides Tiree. I have been in no danger of for- 
getting this lately. The Returns give a dreadful 
amount of work. 

I can't say how pleased I am at the way in which 
you have developed the organisation. May it have 
that blessing of life which will make it effective. 

To Mrs. Macdiarmid. Written from Tiree. 

This year, I suppose the harvest won't be in 
before Xmas ! 

We did catch it across the Machar last night. 
No girls came, but I don't wonder. I didn't lose 
time ! Got to know friends, arranged matters, 
and had a Gaelic lesson. I left at five. 


Such a full class again, from three townships ; 
and I felt, with renewed force, while the sewing- 

258 " ETHICA " 

class lasts we must get them any help we can. 
1 could have heard a pin drop during the Bible 
lesson, and I left them being led so prettily in 
" I hear Thy welcome voice." And this is the class 
which I was so low about ! Surely we are taught 
again and again it is " not by might." 

[On getting someone she wished to do a bit of 
work :] I feel as though the millenium may be upon 

We have much to be thankful for this winter, 
but I confess my heart is sick at the low moral tone. 
Also, the stifled conscience which can let an old 
minister walk five miles to preach to six people, 
to say nothing of the younger ministers who would 
have large congregations elsewhere ; but perhaps 
we are all waking up to the fact that the most 
needful places require the best men. 

Where we have the ultra-Episcopal type, of 
course, there is a difference, because they teach 
one must belong to them to be in the right way at 
all ; but we have, happily, not this gulf between 
Baptist, Free, and Established. 

Xmas Eve, 1892. 

Will you arrange that from all the treats the 
fragments be gathered up, that nothing be lost, 
and a list of the sick taken ? No other deserters 
from treat, but perhaps a birch-rod might be sent 
afterwards ! 

Really the " Dunara " ought to be pulled up for 
passing us yesterday. 

" ETHICA " 259 

Jan., 1893. 

Do you know, I am left with one overpowering 
sense of all that needs yet to be done with the 
Y.W.C.A. I have often thanked God for the hearty 
co-operation of all the ministers in evangelistic 
work, but all you say of Mr. McLean is true. I 
never saw anything in my experience like the fer- 
vent, patient, catholic working for the common 
cause. I feel so strongly that if his own Church- 
members will form round him in a Guild, it will 
keep them in hand, give them some guidance, 
lift it out of " nighean an Diuc " atmosphere. 

Don't fuss about me. The strength has been 
given for the day, and will be. 

[About magazines :] I don't want Tiree to play 
the pauper. 

May 15th, 1892. From her diary. 

To-day in the old Tolbooth Parish Church, 
outside the May breeze rustling, the green bushes 
emerging from the Rock of the Castle, I saw the 
setting apart of another Deaconess, Janet Beck, 
who is already a missionary of the Church of 
Scotland in the Blantyre Mission. 

The Rev. D. Clement Scott preached on, " Bring 
ye in the tithes." The key-note was, we are re- 
deemed that we may first give the tithe, and then 
the whole of ourselves and of our substance, to 
God. The unity of the race, the claim that Africa 
has upon us as such. 

Professor Charteris spoke of one of the ancient 

260 " ETHICA " 

offices of the deaconess, which was to keep the door 
of the women. So Janet Beck might be said to 
keep the door of the women in Africa, and as in 
that early Church they prepared the catechumens 
for Baptism, so, as she bends over the African 
children, she might think of so instructing them. 

Whatever variance of opinion there may be as 
to this particular form of being set apart, I could 
not but think of the great advantage to those who, 
being sent forth by the Church they represent, know 
that they have its sympathy and prayers. It 
must be a real help in their lonely and arduous 
outpost work. 

I wish that workers in the great harvest field 
could realise more that they are joining one great 
orchestra, each with a distinct part, but which is 
needed to blend into perfect harmony. 

Perhaps as my own life work, for the most part, 
has led away from associated work, I see all the 
beauty and help it might be, more than some who 
are accustomed to it. 

I have got this time to know " my fellow- 
workers," dear women and girls each one. We 
need much faith and prayer. 

Argyll Lodge. June 25th, 1892. 
My dear Mrs. Macdiarmid, 

I have been longing for the leisure and the 
strength to write you a good crack ! This sounds 
as if I had been working hard, and such I cannot 
feel to have been the case : but somehow I think 

"ETHICA" 261 

this friggle-fraggle life takes it out of me more 
than the arduousness of meetings in the dear 
Tiree against all wind and weather, and the breezes 
meanwhile giving me that wonderful thing called 
" life." 

I spent part of this week at the Mildmay Con- 
ference. I thought of and longed for the Tiree 
workers, that they should have all the help. Think- 
ing of it, I send you the Syllabus of it. Next week 
I will send you the " Christian," which contains 
the fullest reports. 

More than any of the addresses, powerful as 
these were, from Mr. Wilson of St. Michael's, 
Dr. Pierson, and Mr. Stuart, as out-standing 
ones, I always feel freshly struck with the feel- 
ing, " one heart, one voice." A sense of the com- 
munion of God's Spirit and fellowship one with 
another. I always think Sir Arthur Blackwood 
is especially happy in setting the key-note. It 
was a solemn time. One felt there was so much 
searching of hearts, and such a sense that work, 
if it be genuine, must be done in the power of the 
Spirit, or prove utterly barren and unfruitful. 

I left after the united Communion on Thursday, 
when over two thousand must have sat down. 

Sir Arthur greeted me with : " Well, shall I 
go to Tiree ? " I said : " Yes, do." " Well," 
he said, " I shall see if McKinnon can put me round 
in his yacht." 

I really believe a few of these bigwigs are 
possessed with a burning desire to see it ! 

262 " ETHICA " 

In all the inevitable anxieties of this time, 
needless to say, I shall think with special thoughts 
of the wild Island. I am delighted with the account 
of the closing meeting. You really are in splendid 
working business harness. I trust so much that, 
in whatever form, work true and living may be 
set agoing and prosper for next winter. 

April, 1894. Inveraray. From her diary. 

Nearly two years since the last entry. Just 
after I wrote it, I was at the first Moderator's 
breakfast I have ever been at, that of Professor 
Charteris. I went to London when Dot arrived. 
How glad I am I went at once to welcome her ! 
In 1893 I was to have visited her at Liberton before 
she left for Cannes, and I for Tiree. I stayed for 
the home visit to be over ; our married couples 
here with eight grandchildren. I went to Edin- 
burgh, to Lady Liston Foulis, Dr. Charteris, and 
then Dr. Macmillan, who put me on board the 
" Dunara," and I left again for Bunessan and Tiree. 
In this last place I took lodgings this time. We 
got two Guilds formed. Of those months I cannot 
venture on details. Influenza seized Knowles, 
then me. I can never forget the home-sickness 
I had during my convalescence for my father and 
the family. 

I left early for London, where Aunt Dot spent 
three weeks with us. 

Home Rule and Disestablishment for Wales 
the burning topics in public life. On the 29th 

" ETHICA " 263 

May came the summons to Bournemouth. It 
was to be with Dot in her last hours. God 
only knows how I got through. The oppressed 
breathing was terrible. The glad light flitted over 
her face, as I quoted familiar texts or hymn. 
The awful suddenness of the end all seemed like 
a dream. 

Then, going to Edinburgh, the wonderful beauty 
of those summer days. The true friendship it 
all cemented between Mr. Charles Guthrie and me. 
The tender, strong sympathy of dear Dr. Charteris, 
I can never express what it was. 

Jan. nth, 1893. Tiree. 
My dear Mrs. Macdiarmid, 

An enormous class yesterday from the Sahara 
and the two Cornaigs. Only Flora McLean for my 
aide-de-camp. All these need cards. The whole 
of " the Sahara " require almanacs. 

I am getting on. Neuralgia pretty severe, but 
I am thankful I went to Cornaig. In haste. Yrs., 

V. C. 

To Mrs. Macdiarmid. 

Aug. 2tth, 1893. Argyll Lodge. 

We must do the best we can in the meantime, 
and I have the hope ultimately that we may 
manage some local association for Argyll (Home 
Industries). A regular working Branch, as Suther- 
land and Inverness, have been organised. 

The idea of the " Exhibition " in November 

264 " ETHICA " 

for Oban seems odd, but it may air the subject, 
and lead to someone starting a Depot to be open, 
at all events, for the tourist season. When I went 
to the great sale here, held in a private house, 
and opened by Princess May, I felt with such a 
rush of fashion and patronage, the Tiree people, 
at all events, ought not to be left out. It requires 
an introduction to get into the London Depot. 
I hope to call there in a day or two, and will then 
find out whether the caretaker thinks it worth 
while to have any of these up. 

The winter journey was not an easy one. On 
November 13th, 1893, she went from Bunessan to 

Friday, Nov. 11th. 

Started on " Dunara." Detained all day at 
Bunessan. Fearful night. 


Very bad with headache. Got through writing 
in evening. Wonder when we shall get to Tiree. 


Landed at Bunessan. No service in our church. 
Had class at night. 

Arrived at Tiree with Mrs. Grant. 

" ETHICA " 265 

Dec. 13th, 1894. Inveraray. 

Dear Mrs. Macdiarmid, 

How my heart warmed when, yesterday 
evening, I was told " Donald McDonald from 
Tiree " wished to see me. We had such a crack 
over the Revival and all. What a blessing it is ! 
and, thanks to the nobility of our ministers there, 
the movement will be guided, and, let us hope, 
supplemented, by the people by earnest work. 

You know, I feel this is the great need of the 
Tiree folks. They are apt to be " revived/' and 
then faint again. I told Mr. McLean, when he 
wrote somewhat regretfully about all the Y.W. 
classes, not to fret. If good, real work is done, 
it matters not under what auspices, if only the 
occasional tide does not follow of despising God's 

Then I should so like, as a practical outcome of 
all this, to have a coffee and common mission- 
room in Balemartine. If only we could get it to be 
self-supporting, with a soup kitchen. Do make 
all inquiries, and let us determine : " It shall be 

In the beginning of 1894 Lady Victoria was re- 
called to Inveraray by the death of the Duchess 
Amelia. The Duke needed her presence, and she 
was unable to leave him, or give the winter, as usual, 
to the islands. By correspondence, she kept in touch 
with all her island links, and the network of classes 
she had helped to spread over Argyll. 

266 " ETHICA " 

Physically, it was a break which rested her. She 
was happy in the close society of one who was always 
the centre of her thoughts, and she enjoyed the pro- 
longed intercourse with the large family circle, 
so soon to be thinned, that gathered round their 
father at Inveraray. 

At the close of December she writes : — 

Dec. 30th, 1894. Inveraray. 

Such a happy close to what has been one of 
the saddest years I have known. The April week 
in Edinburgh, with its visit to Dr. and Mrs. Char- 
teris. The Communion Sunday, under Dr. Mathe- 
son, and the blessed ten days of heart and spirit 
communion with the Sholto Douglases at Balma- 
carra. Miss Marsh's days here are the oases. 

What a contrast to last year, alone with Mrs. 
Grant in Tiree ! 

The year 1895 again opened with a painful shock, 
and it was followed by a series of events which broke 
down her strength, and for the first time her heart 
wellnigh failed her. 

The Duke went to Glasgow in order to make a 
speech in defence of the House of Lords. While 
speaking, he was seized with a severe fainting attack, 
and the nervous exhaustion which followed resulted 
in a long illness, and much subsequent weakness. 
Lady Victoria was at Inveraray at the time. The 
presence of Lord Lome and one of her sisters, in 
Glasgow, made it unnecessary for her to go to the 

" ETHICA " 267 

Duke, but the strain of being absent from him 
told as much as if she had been with him where he 
was laid up in the house of Lord and Lady Kelvin. 
The spring brought the news of her brother Lord 
Colin's death in Bombay, and it closed to her a 
field to which her eyes had turned. 

As I was preparing to go to him [she writes] 
the telegram came to say all was over. The next 
week I went to Mildmay, staying with Miss 
Coventry for the Conference. I attended a few 
other meetings, feeling terribly ill, and on the 
3rd of July the smash came. It was internal 
inflammation, followed by other complications. 
I had two dear nurses from Mildmay. I longed 
to die, but I am afraid it only proceeded from 
physical weakness. God only knows how unfit I 
was for it. 

In August I was able to move to Foxton, where 
Edith cooked me up for a fortnight. Then a week 
in Edinburgh lodgings, where I broke the long 
fast from all Church ordinances in St. Giles on 
Sunday, and I was at one weekday service. What 
memories of dear Dot and her friends came 
over me ! 

A few days at Douglas Support, then with the 
Macmillans at Greenock, before he put me on board 
for Iona. A week there, another at Bunessan, 
then to Tiree, to prove, as I believed, whether 
these islands, or further afield, was to be, in future, 
my sphere. 

268 M ETHICA » 

She needed all the cheer her friends could give 
her, though the short diary is written with her own 
indomitable will power. 

After eleven weeks illness, feeling more like 
facing life. 

Oct. 3rd. 

Started round the Moil. 

Oct. 4th. 

Iona, and in the chair to the Cross. 

Oct. llth. 

Crossed the Sound to Mull. 

Oct. ISth. 
Came to Tiree. Good toss. Got in about six. 

Oct. 19th. 

Full of restoration to work. Miss MacGregor 
with me. 

Dec. Slst. 

Feel encouraged. Is Tiree to be the field ? 

To Lady Mary Glyn. 

Douglas Suppokt. Sep., 1895. 

A lovely place, as far as grounds go. Beyond, 
a terraced garden, trees, and harvest fields. 

My Doctor quite satisfied with Islands, because, 
with due care, it is the only life in which, short 

" ETHICA " 269 

of a thorough invalid, I can command hours, and 
recover the tremendous nervous exhaustion. 

I loved my first Sunday in St. Giles after eleven 
weeks. I should like the Communion here, but I 
am not sure if it is feasible. 

I sail, D.V., by Moil for Iona, Oct. 3rd. 

From Dr. Oswald Dykes. 

Dec. 26th, 1895. 

I like the beautiful photograph of yourself, 
now before me, very much, and shall prize it. 

Do you know, it has so much of your aunt in it 
that it seems to recall her also, when I look at it. 

The letter which came with it gave me the 
tidings of you, for which I have been wishing. 
I do not know that any retreat could afford you, 
in finer combination, the elements of restfulness 
for mind and spirit, as well as body, which you need 
after the recent prolonged strain of various kinds, 
and the breakdown which it naturally brought on. 
The remoteness from jar, the soothing solitude, 
the free air and open sea lifting one above petty 
frets, the loyalty and gratitude of these clans- 
women, the old-world piety, and to all this the 
solicitude and aid afforded by that good Miss 
MacGregor, what more could be added to do " a 
body " good ? 

You will tell me that jealousies and divisions 
mar even the paradise of Tiree, and people can be 
petty and stupid by the sounding sea ! I dare say. 
The big world may minister peace, but the little 

270 " ETHICA " 

world man creates for himself will still be — like 
himself ! The cure lies in turning one's " little 
world " into a bit of the kingdom of God. Where 
He rules, there is peace. 

I hope the " clanswomen " appreciate your 
fulfilment of the noblest of the duties of a chief- 
tainess, by living among them to help them to 
live better. Whether they do or not, I like better 
to think of you there on an island of Argyll among 
your own people, than (as you seem to hint) 
missioning far afield among aliens of a foreign 
tongue. No, I can't think that is for you. 

You will be able, I trust, to repose your nerves 
and collect your thoughts, and, above all, settle 
your heart on the Divine will, which rises serene 
above our tumultuous wills, and to which, if we 
only embrace it, we should find it so good to submit 
all our private and errant longings. What better 
can I wish for you, than that the Divine Peace 
should take you for comfort into itself for a space. 
That you may forget all else in the strengthening 
persuasion, that your Heavenly Father knows 
and cares, and loves and provides, and is more 
to you a thousandfold than earthly brother, or 
father, or friend. 

The thoughts and prayers of your friends will 
go with you in your retreat, and hover near you ! 
And that is not unpleasant to think. 

From " Professor Pax." 

I am very sorry indeed, but not surprised, that 

" ETHICA " 271 

you find your return so inexpressibly sad. How 
strange are the paths to which children's feet 
go, when they leave home ! How comforting the 
hope of the Home from which " they go out no 
more, for ever ! " You will find your own burden 
lightened as you take up that of others. Divine 

To Lady Mary Glyn. 

The Lodge, Tiree. Oct., 1895. 

When you have time to write, explain fully 
about the Congress, and if you were afflicted with 
women's meetings ! And if, perchance, they 
spoke sense ! 

Did Normandy do you good " afterwards," like 
chastening ? I mean, you did not seem to answer 
to it at the time, which is like the German waters 

You can imagine me here this time, near the 
Manse in Gott Bay. The dark-grey villa-looking 
house the Mackenzies used to live in. I see the dear 
Jura hills from my bed, and from the sofa the Mull 

From her Diary. 

Last Sunday, 1895. Tiree. 

The text to-day from which our " laddie mini- 
ster," Mr. Macpherson, gave his English sermon, 
might well speak to me : " The cup which My 
Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it ? " 

The main teaching of his sermon was in the first 

272 " ETHICA " 

part : " Put up thy sword into the sheath," " It 
is a strong nature which is patient ; impatience 
is a sign of weakness," such were some of his 
thoughts on a Sunday when, with blessed outward 
calm, after a week of terrible storm, he prayed it 
might be to us an emblem of the time when the 
storm and stress of life should be over. 

It was during these years that her attendance on 
the meetings of the General Assembly of the Church 
of Scotland, in Edinburgh, became regular. " She 
was an institution there," said Dr. Norman Macleod. 
It was a true description of one of the best-known 
figures in Edinburgh, in the time of " May and the 
Assemblies." Of course, it was an occasion when 
she physically steadily overdid herself, with long 
sittings listening to debates on subjects about which 
she was " wildly excited." No matter that her feet 
were cold as ice, and she in every form of discomfort, 
nothing would make her abandon the Assembly. 

How many " fathers and brethren " can recall the 
eager face, bending over the Throne gallery, saluting 
and beckoning to the many friends, gathered, like 
herself, from field, and mountain, and flood ! The 
innumerable confidences and consultations, the burn- 
ing desire that the vote should go her way, and her 
whispered expostulations to those who were passing 
beneath her, into the wrong or right lobby. 

" I follow my leader ; I always follow Dr. Story," 
pleaded Colonel Wauchope, as, in full uniform, he 
passed the head that was being shaken at him. 

" ETHICA " 273 

Then there were the progresses up and down the 
gloomy stone stairs. The minister, or elder, selected 
because he understood " how to give his arm " ; 
the less favoured, bearing cloaks and foot-warmers. 
The cab attained, there was always a pause before 
the driver could get off. The head with the 
fair hair framing the radiant face at the window, 
as her eye caught sight of this one, and then 
the other, bidding all and sundry to come and 
have a crack, or a "ceilidh," and meals were 
promised, and " trysts " were made. Or she would 
have been to hear " Rainy " in the Free Assembly, 
or her feet had strayed into some " conventicle," 
and the stricter sect of the fathers and brethren 
would come reproving her for backslidings and de- 
fections, and she enjoyed the innocent mischief she 
had been in, and bade them give her absolution. 
She loved the element of ecclesiastical life, and the 
social gathering together, and the Assembly ten days 
were always bright to her ; though she would pay 
for her " Gospel greed " by many a neuralgic attack. 
" It was worth it," was her summing up, " and that 
it was good to see her," was the heartfelt feeling of the 
friends, who miss her coming, and can no longer 
stand by to aid her progress to the Throne gallery 
of the Tolbooth Church. 



" I've wrestled on towards heaven, 
'Gainst storm and wind and tide ; 
Now, like a weary traveller, 
That leaneth on his guide, 
Amid the shades of evening, 
While sinks life's lingering sand, 
I hail the glory dawning 
In Immanuel's Land." 

The diary of 1896 closes with these words, written in 
Iona : — 

Went to west end. To the Cross and to the 
Cathedral. Why am I brought here ? may be the 
question. Surely to rest awhile. In the midst 
of trouble His Presence can make all bright. 

It had been a strenuous year, and over it all there 
was weariness. Lady Victoria had had another 
heavy sorrow, in the sudden death of her sister, 
Lady Elisabeth Clough Taylor. The urgent call 
to leave Tiree, and start for Inveraray, came to her 
in September, and there was the usual entry in the 
diary : " Got on board at night. Fearful tossing, 
but got into Oban by two next day." 

The funeral was at Rosneath, and Lady Victoria 
went with the steamer that conveyed the coffin, 



and those of her family who had been able to gather 
together. It was a lovely bright day, as the boat passed 
down the familiar waterways, and brought them 
all again within the circle of the hills. " Great 
sense of rest in the old Home," Lady Victoria writes, 
as she turns back again to Inveraray to help her 
brother-in-law and his children. For this reason 
she was detained both at Inveraray, and in a pro- 
longed visit to London. In her review of the year, she 
says : — 

Dec. 31s£, 11.50 p.m. 

The year is dying out, and as I wait to hear 
the little church bell ring it out, I record its chief 
events. The inner record, one cannot. Libby 
taken from us. I summoned home again, and for 
weeks doubtful whether I could return to Island 
life. Matters were so arranged that I was able to 
do so. I returned to Bunessan, then I came here, 
and am seeing it out in the Blessed Isle. 

Bunessan was one of the spots where her work 
was heaviest. Accommodation suitable for her needs 
was hard to find. The population was numerous, and 
yet wildly scattered, and for her the difficulties were 
far greater than either in Iona or Tiree. Wet and wild 
gales she had often to face under the mountains of 
Mull. Here, as elsewhere, she was surrounded by 
a band of willing fellow-workers, who never failed her, 
and she never grudged her strength in the service of 
the people. Not always were her classes able to meet, 


and she went through many a rough day to keep 
her part of the tryst. On one occasion, it took four 
men, walking beside her pony-chair, to ensure that 
it was not blown bodily off the precipitous road 
with her inside it, so fierce were the blasts which were 
sweeping over the place ; and the girls, having no 
one to hold them on to the road, had not faced the 

The Duke, writing to her about this time, alarmed 
by her journeys, and not in a mood to do justice to 
a place which was causing her so much over-exertion 
and fatigue, asks, in pretended ignorance, what 
keeps her in Mull. 

My dear V., 

I was very glad to hear this morning from 
Bunessan, and admire your pluck in going by that 
beastly boat, all the way round by Coll, Tiree, and 
Iona. Could you not get to Bunessan by a shorter 
route ? And, now, what on earth are you going 
to do at Bunessan ? The dullest place on earth ! 
Why don't you go to Tiree, with fine skies, and fine 
seas, instead of muddy ebbs and dirty seaweed ? 

Lady Victoria's correspondents loved teasing her 
on her choice of abodes. Her dear " Rev., Sir James, 
Dean " called her Ethica " your sand-bank," and 
she returned their chaff, giving as good as she got ; 
she loaded them all with her pity that their minds 
were unable to understand how her lines had fallen 
unto her in fair places. 


No one loved more deeply both land and sea, 
and the blue heavens above her. The sunrises 
over Jura, which were her winter's joy ; the long, 
curved sweep of the white sands of Gott ; the circle 
of the islands, glowing in sunset radiance. From 
Iona she looked across the Sound to the " jasper 
walls " of the Eoss, or from Ethica saw the soft 
cloud-caps gather round the dark hills of Mull. 

She needed all the strength her lifted eyes could 
gather from them. It was not the sadness of Nature 
which oppressed her, as the grey mists swept eerily 
across the sunless seas. She knew they were often 
but the symbols of the unspoken burden of sorrow 
and want ; but the remembrance of days " when 
there follows a mist and a weeping rain, and life is 
never the same again." It was the knowledge of the 
storms breaking over many a lonely cottage, and the 
aching hearts within, which made her intent on cross- 
ing the threshold of these homes, bringing the cheer 
of her voice, and the tender, eager sympathy which, 
like a ray of sunlight, came with her going out and 
coming in. 

The sorrows of the year had fallen heavily on the 
inner sanctuary of her affections. Her heart ever 
" turned again home," for in the background of all 
her thoughts and actions there always stood the 
presence of her father, and the family were but the 
links which bound her to him. Stronger than death 
was the love she had borne him from her earliest years. 
She once said to one of her sisters, that she could 
never remember the time, after she returned home for 


good, when she did not count the hours which must 
pass before she could again be in his company. In 
temperament they were alike. The rapid thought 
translated into immediate action. The strong desire 
to pour out with voice or pen the ideas which were so 
pregnant, and burnt till utterance was given to them. 
Apart lay their roads. Different spheres of influence 
and action were to demand their energies. Yet 
through it all ran a thread closer even than that of 
blood, the golden thread of a community of spirit 
and an understanding desire to be led into all 

Dear to her as were her brothers, and the sister- 
hood, they were but the frame to the central figure. 
The homes where his presence had ordered the daily 
round, instinct with his vitality, were the dearest to 
her. As she and her people carried " to the old 
home " the first to break the band of the seven 
sisters, she quotes some lines written by Lady 
Elisabeth, on the land of their childhood : — 

" Once again the snowdrops spring 
Underneath the ancient beech — 
But never again, ah me ! shall ring 
Childish laughter, lisping speech, 
Half as sweet in coming years, 
Seen through mists of unshed tears. 

" Baby feet that roam'd erewhile 
'Mong the flowers, tread other ways ; 
But still the joy of the snowdrop's smile 
Charms them back to childhood's days ; 
To their fairyland of dreams, 
Songs and mists and strange bright gleams." 


Rest was needed, and it came to her always in 
Iona. The sacred associations of the long past, and 
the influences which had led her own spirit, made 
the cathedral to her " none other but the House 
of God." There she had felt her second consecration. 
No hands setting her apart had been laid upon her. 
The wind blowing where it listeth, through the 
clustered pillars and arches, had blessed her with the 
peace which passeth all understanding. 

Through the nave, whose floor was the thyme- 
scented turf, her feet had often led her ; till by the 
window, looking over the translucent seas, she had 
heard the call that bade her pass through many 
waters to the havens whereunto she was called, and 
where her work and the people awaited her. 

One, who was her earliest companion in her visits 
to Iona, writes : — 

We visited the people together, and in the 
evenings we sat in the ruined cathedral to watch 
the sunsets. We used to scramble up on the ledge 
of the south window, and sit there. It was rather 
difficult for her, but she was not to be daunted. 
I helped her, and there were loose stones below 
to assist us. 

Very dear to her was the ruined Church of St. 
Columba, but many anxieties connected with its 
history in " the Church Universal " made her hail 
the dawn of its restoration. 

The General Assembly of 1896, at its twelfth 


session, appointed " A Thanksgiving for the intro- 
duction of the Gospel into our land, to be held on 
the 9th of June, 1897, the thirteenth hundred anni- 
versary of the death of St. Columba, or on the Sunday- 
folio wing." A meeting of Churchmen was held in 
Edinburgh, and there it was resolved that, whatever 
other means should be taken to carry out the injunc- 
tion of the Assembly, arrangements should be made 
for a special celebration in the island which had been 
the headquarters of St. Columba's mission and the 
place of his death. Application was made to the 
Duke of Argyll, the proprietor of Iona, for access 
to the ancient church, built on, or near, the site 
of the Columban Monastery. 

Although the original building has long since 
disappeared, it was felt that the memorial service 
would be most appropriately held within the walls 
of that which had succeeded it. His Grace, at once 
and cordially, agreed to the request. " I shall," he 
wrote, " of course, be delighted to help the General 
Assembly in any way to celebrate the date at that 

The necessary preparations were accordingly set 
about, and, with the hearty and ready assistance of 
the minister of Iona, and the concurrence of the Pres- 
bytery of Mull, were completed in full time for the 
9th of June. 

The chancel, choir, and sacristy of the church were 
roofed, the windows glazed, a pulpit and harmonium 
provided, and benches for a congregation of about 
two hundred and fifty fitted up. 


It was verily a time to be held in remembrance. 
Pilgrims, drawn from every part of the country, 
gathered into the island, and every cottage and out- 
house was occupied. Lady Victoria took a house in 
the village, close by the port of landing. There she kept 
open house to all her innumerable friends. One of her 
sisters stayed in the house for the Commemoration, and 
recalls it as a time of unclouded brightness with the 
hostess. She had been charged to bring from London 
additions to the larder and storeroom. On arrival, 
she found a small room, set with a dining-table, 
which filled its dimensions. Knowles was emerging 
from the kitchen with a lordly dish of mince 
collops, and laughing over a deficiency of cutlery. Into 
the room poured the guests, some of the largest 
ministers in figure and reputation, and at the head 
of the table sat the laughing, happy hostess, " re- 
joicing to see the day/' and full of thanksgiving that 
the strain was again to be upraised ; that her feet 
were yet to stand within the gates of a church 
restored to its ancient use. 

On the morning of the 9th she listened to her 
great friend, Dr. Norman Macleod, preaching in the 
Gaelic ; for it was felt fitting that the first of the 
services of Commemoration should be in the ancient 
language of the Celts, and then she was one of that 
great congregation, which once again kept the feast, 
and remembered, " the blest communion, fellowship 

Lady Victoria had helped those deputed by the 
Assembly to secure the cathedral for the Church of 


Scotland, on that anniversary of the thirteen hundred 
years since the death of Columba, the greatest mission- 
ary ever possessed by the Church of Christ in Scotland. 
Deep into her heart sank the concluding words of 
the inspiring sermon by Dr. MacGregor, which 
summed up the great festival. 

From this holy service, on this holy spot, let us 
carry back with us a warmer devotion to Him 
whose dying love we are now to remember. If 
loyal to Him, we cannot help being loyal to our 
Church and country, for our ideals will be high, 
our lives noble, our homes pure. The Scottish 
Church and the Scottish State were born together. 
They exist this day together. Let us carry hence 
the determination to do our best, by holy living and 
by ceaseless prayer, that this long connection shall 
never be broken. Across the ages S. Columba 
says to the Scottish people to-day : " These, 
children, are the last words I commend to you, 
that, with peace, ye have mutual and unfeigned 
charity among yourselves." 

" Pax vobiscum," wrote Dr. Story to her, as he 
turned from the cathedral, which his request had 
given to the pilgrims of a day, and deep " as the 
unfathomed sea "was the peace that rested on her, and 
went with her as she turned again to her journeys. 

The temporary but effective preparations, which 
had roofed and made the cathedral ready for its 
ancient services, had their effect on all Scotland, and 


many were the appeals made to the Duke, that the 
cathedral might remain in its restored condition. 
The Roman Catholics, as was fitting, obtained from 
those who had been entrusted with the time of 
commemoration, the use of the cathedral for a ser- 
vice, according to the rites of their Church ; and the 
thoughts of many hearts were turned to the future 
of the nation's greatest relic of the storied past. 

Two years later the Duke decided to give, in trust 
to the Church of Scotland, the Abbey Church of Iona. 
He had thought much and said little, and even to 
Lady Victoria the news from him came on the eve 
of an information to the general public. Ecclesiasti- 
cal strife was always a weariness of the flesh to him, 
and he could not but know that a restored Iona 
would mean, that those who desired to claim St. 
Columba as belonging, not to the Church Universal, 
but to some branch or sect, would be jealous that the 
Church of Scotland should have in trust this shrine 
and beacon of the Light of Christianity. The Duke 
foresaw that, in the future, it could never remain 
as it had been before the Commemoration, and he 
determined it should be in charge of " the Scottish 
Church and the Scottish State which were born 

The Duke's letter is brief and characteristic, but 
it bears the stamp of the conflict " within and 
without," and the shadows which were gathering 
round his own days. 

Her own diary has a sentence, even more compres- 
sed : " Wonderful news of redemption of Cathedral." 


Sep. 30th, 1899. 

My dear V., 

I have made over by deed, signed and sealed, 
all the ruins of Iona to the Church of Scotland. 
In the hands of a body of Trustees, of whom 
Story is one. The deed will soon be published, 
perhaps to-day. Hamish is very excited about 
it. He has been here, and has gone off to-day. 

My Deed will be grief to the Roman Catholics, 
to the Anglicans, and to the Scottish Anglicans. 
All pretty nearly equally disliked by me. 

I hope they will soon put a roof on the Cathedral, 
and open it with a grand " diet of worship." 

Wyllie brought an account of your " cowp " 
to-day. We are looking out for a new chair. I 
can't understand how this one was so rotten. 
Your affectionate Father, 


The letter has an explanatory note on it in Lady 
Victoria's hand : " Refers to my wheel Bath chair 
collapsing. Harold (the pony) behaved angelically. 
Let me creep out from under the ruins." 

The much-excited " Hamish " wrote : — 

Oct. 5th, 1899. 

Seadh ! Mo leanabh ! Is'e peagairt do irmingh 
agus obair. 1 

It is twenty-two years on the 10th instant since 
I wrote a long letter to the Duke on the matter, 

1 Yes ! My child. It is an answer to prayer and work. 


the first time it had ever been brought before him. 
It was the result of a meeting between Dr. Story 
and myself with the late David Richardson, of 
Hartfield, eight days before. There have been 
many assaults upon the Duke since then. Circum- 
stances have led his strong, loyal, and reverent 
mind to see the matter in its right light, and the 
result is the great and splendid gift to the Church, 
to which your family has been from the beginning 
devoted. His heart is wholly in this business, 
and we all hope he may be spared to see it finished 
and the building opened. No time will be lost in 
putting matters on a sound footing, and raising 
the necessary money. Receive my blessing. 
Your affectionate friend, 

James MacGregor. 

P.S. The war, we learn, has begun. God defend 
the right. 

Iona had always meant a home-coming for her, 
and her friends in the island had been Mr. and Mrs. 
Ritchie, in the Columba Inn. Their family were 
among the foremost of her " fellow-workers," and 
Mrs. Macmillan, at the Manse, and Miss Ritchie were 
her right hands in helping with all the plans for 
the people. 

'' Young Ritchie," ever the guide, philosopher, and 
friend of all who seek the shrine of Columba. His 
gifts in Celtic art were early discovered, and noised 
abroad by this his early friend, and the " Columba " 


was a true " guest-house " where she rested. After 
the Ritchie family had ceased their connection with 
it, Lady Victoria always had a welcome, warm as 
the love for her guest, from Mrs. Mackenzie. 

It has seemed best to finish the story of the restitu- 
tion of Iona Cathedral here, but the narrative must 
now go back to the diaries and letters of Lady 

To Lady Mary Glyn. 

Tiree. Nov., 1893. 

I thought that Evey's letter, telling her and all 
of you my adventures in getting here, would have 
been off long ago. I really don't know when we 
shall have communication again with the main- 
land. The mail-steamer has not called since she 
landed us on Tuesday morning, in the most wonder- 
ful lucid interval of this long storm I have ever 
beheld. After being kept from midday on Friday 
till Sunday tossing outside, just opposite Ardfinnaig 
in the " Dunara," we were " once more again " 
cast up on Bunessan itself. 

How it recalled old days to me ! Your little 
despairing face on coming down to the big 
berth, V. ! " Bunessan again ! " I feel since last 
summer when you were there, as if you knew some- 
thing of what I mean, when I say I think if we had 
known, young as we then were, what we might 
have been to the people had we gone more amongst 
them. Since coming here, with all the first settling 
in and inevitable difficulties and discomforts, 


I have been so struck with the intense love of the 
people. I am actually staying in the farm of 
renown, Greenhill, kept by three McNeill brothers. 
The orphan lassie who waits upon me is quite 
delightful in her utter want of conventionality. 

I went to bed last night, voiceless with that 
complaint rare here, a cold. In all that first aching 
misery a cold gives, I was conscious of her de- 
manding to know " whether I was better." 

I felt how unutterably selfish one can be in one's 
work, when I tried so hard, if delayed, to spend 
the Sunday in Iona. The girls at Bunessan, with 
that short notice, came in force to the evening 

I could not have faced Church, feeling rather 
sea-sicky. I found there was none, only the 

I am perfectly determined the benefit of the soup 
kitchen shall be extended to the children. There 
is a fear of it " pauperising." It will have to be 
done for all the schools, or the children won't 
attend. (It is forgotten that the old form of school 
is gone.) 

In the first place, I mean the parents of the 
children who can, to pay. No one has any idea 
what it is to see their pale little faces, and to hear 
the schoolmasters say, that many come miles 
with only a potato on their stomachs in the 

I am fighting it, but the delays in the mails are 
dreadful. It does seem strange (this sounds bitter, 


but I don't mean it in this sense) a word from any 
of the officials goes a great deal farther than from 
one who has worked for seven years amongst them. 
Moreover, I have been quite hard about self-help. 
I know too well the thriftlessness, and all else. 
Dr. Donald Macleod, of Glasgow, wrote me the 
other day : " Our western Highlands require a 
special mission, quite as much as any part of 

I don't want to talk at home about some one case. 
It would exhaust all they would do. My effort 
is to secure their help on some great central 
object. Such as soup kitchens, coffee- and reading- 

I am much better to-day. Have sent Mrs. Grant 
to a preliminary meeting of workers about the 
classes, and to report herself afterwards at the 

The ministers here delightful. I hope to be 
" fit " for next week, but I never felt anything like 
the cold at Bunessan and the worry besides. 

To Mrs. MacPhee, at the Manse of Kilnnnan, she 
writes on her work in the Y.W.C.A. As " District 
Keferee " she had much to do with the mainland 
of Argyll, and in many instances managed to visit 
the local branches. Her warm friendship with all 
at the Manse was drawn yet closer by the companion- 
ship of Margaret McPhee. She was the last of the 
many girl friends and helpers to be with her in the 
closing days in Edinburgh. 




Nov. 14th, 1888. 
Dear Mrs. McPhee, 

It has been a great refreshment to me to find, 
in this dark but beloved Argyll, such a Lighthouse 
as Kilfinnan Church Manse. We ought, surely, 
very specially to agree together to ask that the 
Lighthouses become less few and far between. 

The Lodge, Tiree. Feb. 14th, 1896. 
Dear Mrs. McPhee, 

The work here is overwhelming. We have 
five classes a week, and five treats coming on, 
in view of my departure next month. It is but 
slowly strength has returned to me after the severe 
illness of the summer. 

To Lady Mary Glyn. 

16 Moray Place, Edinburgh. April, 1896. 
From the length of time I have taken to say 
so, you would not think how glad I was to get 
your Easter greeting, although it was not the 
first thing which took my thoughts out to St. 
Mary's on the blissful Easter Sunday, when Georgy 
and I took the Communion in dear St. Giles. 
Dr. Lees preached both morning and evening. 
Two of his tender, strong human sermons, with 
the ever-fresh remembrance of the host who have 
gone on before. 

Bunessan. Nov. 12th, 1896. 
Dear Mrs. McPhee, 

Many thanks for your most kind letter. It 


is, indeed, a terrible sorrow and shock. Elisabeth 
was one of the most constant of the sister corre- 

I had settled down to the Hebridean work earlier 
than usual, and was called off as you saw. Now, 
please God, I shall go on with the plan of being 
here all November. Iona for December, and getting 
on to Tiree in January, if my renewed house is 
by that time ready for me. 

I saw dear old Mrs. Gordon in London, on her 
way to Montreux, and in passing through Edin- 
burgh I saw Miss B. Douglas. I am indeed glad 
to hear of the Junior Branch. To interest them in 
mission literature is the thing, I think, which is 
most right and easiest, for really the papers and 
books which are published now are equal in romance, 
even excitement, to what stories of an ordinary 
kind are. To say nothing of the unvarying demand 
of childhood, of its being " all quite true." 

I do long that you should organise, develop Guild 
work. I don't believe it to be disloyal, or detri- 
mental to Y.W. interests, or how could I hold the 
post I do ? With you and your husband being 
what you are, I feel we owe a loyalty to our Church 
in the matter, and what with our " Mothers' 
Unions," Children's Mission League or Union, we 
have handles whereby to grapple with the sore 
blot of our Land, and I would let the missionary 
news be the heart of the children's meetings. 
Telling them of the Y.W.C.A. as a great Christian 
social union, with all its temporal blessings, its 


call to purity, and its recognition of all " who love 
the Lord Jesus." 

I don't mean I have arrived at all this without 
a fight, and probably even now in some quarters 
I am suspected of being sectarian ; but I preach 
the same doctrine wherever the Free Church has 
its Guild, because I do believe in the " Society " 
Christ formed and left, and then we have provision 
for continuance. 

We have the " Faith Mission " here just now, 
and, although personally I don't like women 
holding forth to mixed audiences, I am thankful 
our parish minister sees his way to going in heartily 
with them, even to the Church next Sunday 
when he is absent. I told him I must go to the 
Baptist, because I still think St. Paul's " opeenion " 
about women, perhaps, was the right one ! 

Ask your husband what he thinks of me in this ? 
Do get your little ones to work for some mission. 
I am having the bairns here twice a week, and 
women and girls on Sunday, and I hope to catch 
some of the women with " shawl over the head " 
kind of business in a back room. Get up a mothers' 

From the Diary. 

Easter Eve, April Ylth, 1897. Edinbukgh. 

On Jan. 22nd of this year, Atta McLeod and 
I got to Tiree, to be greeted by old Knowles 
and a white kitten from Rosneath, at the Baptist 


A terrific snowstorm came on, and regular 
work did not begin before Feb., when we set to 
with our classes, and continued them till April 
9th. I intended to get off on the 13th, but we were 
defeated, as the cargo-boat could not go out to 
the " Fingal," so we had to wait till the mail took 
us to Bunessan, and rolled back, via Tiree, next 

Having remains of work to do at Bunessan, 
and wishing to make sure of getting here in the 
beloved City in time for Good Friday, made us 
determined to persevere. Certainly, never did 
Edinburgh look more like the Celestial City than 
it did in the moonlight at ten at night. 

Atta joined me yesterday for the St. Giles 
service. How can one be thankful enough that it 
has been given to Dr. Lees to wed music and 
beauty of architecture with purity of doctrine, 
and such strong spiritual food as it always is ? 

For me to-night, in my nice apartments under 
the shadow of the Castle Rock, I wonder, as I wait, 
what " the nexte thynge " is to be. 

The white kitten was henceforward to be a great 
companion to her. " Snowball " occupied a high 
position in her regard, and had a joint command 
of the Lodge, in the move which was about to be made 

In 1897, *the Duke wrote to Lady Victoria con- 
cerning the Lodge, which was getting ready for her 
occupation : " The rent I want to charge you on 


Tiree Mansion is one Barley Corn, and will tell Howe 
to make out a lease for your life." 

The days were long past, if they had ever existed, 
when the Duke thought " I shall not persevere." 
Winter in Tiree had become an established order, 
and was accepted by all who knew Lady Victoria 
as an accomplished fact. She came back with the 
spring ; her appearance bearing no marks of devas- 
tating storms, and the sough of the winds was too 
far away to rouse more than fitfully the fears of her 

The Lodge, originally built for a school, had then 
become the gamekeeper 's house, was now added to 
and enlarged, and became a mansion, or a villa, 
or a palace, according to the ideas of those who 
watched its walls breaking the outlines of the Bay 
of Gott. 

It was to become a City of Refuge, and " the House 
Beautiful," to many who sought its hospitable doors. 
It suited Lady Victoria ; in it she could " settle 
down," and it was a home in which she could have 
her first, and always greatest happiness, the company 
of Lord Archibald and of his daughter Elspeth. 
Her brother was as well known in the island as herself, 
and Lady Victoria found in his knowledge of the 
people, and his love of the " wild island," a perfect 
community of interest. Into the Lodge for the winter 
work came her fellow-helpers. The girls who taught 
her many classes, and helped her in a hundred ways. 
" Their name is legion." Many of them met their 
future destiny while with Lady Victoria. She loved 


them all, and was often possessed with an unnecessary 
anxiety as to their welfare and future. 

By none of them is she forgotten, and the example 
of devoted service was a thing which never passed 
from the possession of those who had both seen, 
and been called to share it. 

It was right that she should have this house, and 
she used every inch of its wall spaces ; but her 
affections lingered away in the townships of the west- 
end of the island, where she had begun her work, 
and experimented on and experienced all manner 
of cottage homes, and become one with the Macdiar- 
mid family in Island House. Those were the days 
when the unknown future was yet before her. In 
" fear and doubt " she had gone on her way. No 
good thing had failed her, the " very much land " 
had become her own, through faith and works. 

To Lady Mary Grlyn. 
Archie has had such a reception in Tiree ; I 
feel it worth all one has gone through with and 
for them. Land League need never have been. 
" If thou hadst but known/' comes to me so 
often ! 

To the same. 


Perhaps it is as well in some ways this has 
grown to be the place of the most unceasing work. 
I have to set meal-times, rest-times, aside as little 


islands in space from the incessant demands. It is 
far fuller than the other islands of memories of 
our yacht days, with all their blues and their 

Edinbuegh. April 2nd, 1898. 

I had no intention of giving you the " go-by." 
I feel it supremely unnatural not to be able to 
picture you in your new surroundings. I was 
immersed in the last and hardest bit of Tiree 
campaign. Getting the nurse subject into gear 
was a heavy addition to all else. 

I arrived here, Moray Place, about 10 p.m. on 
Tuesday in Passion Week pretty well done. Miss 
Mackenzie is the nearest thing to Dottie we have 
left to us, and for a week I did little but " wurrship " 
in St. Giles, ending with a beautiful Communion 

You do not mention your boy's Confirmation. 
Do you think I am so true blue, I was not thinking 
of him ? I was not sure about Ralph having 
come to that, but I knew about dear Frank, and 
my heart went out to him. 

I shall make a point of you about the 11th. I 
long to be bathed in some music. 

Fionphokt, opposite Iona. Oct. 11th, 1898. 

I am in such cosy quarters here till to-morrow, 
when, as Coll says, " we'll slip across." After a 
month of Bunessan, Iona Cathedral in the setting 
sun yesterday looked like Jerusalem to the Jews. 


Bee. 20th, 1899. Tieee. 

Oh, yes ! Tell Teddy this terrible time of war 
and dread anxiety reaches this lone island. It is 
the unexpected which, I think, upsets us Campbells, 
physically. I was horrified to find myself quite 
unable to go on reading prayers on Saturday, 
having just been told by the ghillie, in a kind of 
haphazard way, of Wauchope's fall. News of this 
had reached the island on Thursday, but the 
minister, with a vague feeling he was a friend 
of mine, had kept it from me. - 

Mr. West, the English shooting tenant, is on the 
island, and so he and I had a long " white-man " 
talk on Sunday. 

He was furious with the red-tape mismanagement 
on the part of McBrayne, which could make them 
take Rhona Campbell Auchindarroch past on 
Friday to Bunessan, and back to Tobermory, 
when Gott Bay was feasible ; to say nothing of 
the mails. 

The first landing was effected last Monday for 
a week, and we waded through six " Scotsmans." 

Mr. West has lent me " Transvaal from Within." 
To-day it is as bad as ever. Fortunately, Rhona 
is with the Allans in Tobermory. 

I was in touch with an Iona woman (for service), 
but she was carried past to Oban, and calmly 
wires me, she is too fatigued, cannot go to sea no 

I am putting irons in the fire, and must hope to 
get someone. 


The " Iona woman " who pleads fatigue will 
probably meet with more sympathy from the readers 
of this letter than she did from a mistress who always 
felt that idleness and fatigue were both vices which 
must be overcome. 

No one, who does not know the dreary harbours 
of Tobermory and Bunessan in Mull, the uncomfort- 
able steamers, the grey winter wastes of rolling waters 
which divide Mull from Tiree, can understand the 
sinkings of heart (and we may add, of stomach) in 
being again and again " carried past." 

One of these victims appealed to. Lady Victoria 
from another point of view. After having been 
" carried past " three times, she wrote from the main- 
land, giving up the situation, saying it was clearly 
not " the wull of God " that she should keep her 

The year 1899 was one of the last, when she was 
fully fit to be " on the go." There were to be ten more 
years of activity, but the pace had begun to tell. 
The severe illnesses became more frequent, and the 
recoveries from them were slower, each leaving her 
on a lower plane. 

Once, when alone with her brother Lord Archibald, 
she said to him that her life would not be a long one. 
She was looking particularly well at the time, and he 
hoped there was no reason for the foreseeing remark. 
He told her so, but her answer was quiet and decisive : 
" I have worked too hard to be long-lived." 

The diary of one year, with the days of actual 
travelling and of occupation, is given as a specimen 
of many similar ones. 


Jan. 1st. Dropped nurse after Hylipol. Service 

on Prayer. Euodias and Syntyche. 
„ 2nd. Went to Green and far end. 
„ 3rd. Far end. Balephuil. Two invalid 

women. Got caught. Baited 

„ Uh. Went to Island House. 6.25. Furious 

storm began. 
„ 5th. Ship in distress. 
„ 1th. Ship relightened. 

Memo. Week of great effort, 
physical and mental. 

„ 10^. Gave up west, because of storm. 

Visited Coalas. 
„ \2th. Took nurse west. Found Dr. Caught 
in wet. 
Sat. 28th. Week of great " go." 
Sun. 29th. Stayed to both services. Walked 

Mail came first time since 3rd. 

Taken ill. Very stormy. Sent John 

on horseback — links. Dr. came 

A troubled week ending in peace. 
Ending with rest, and full of events. 

I kept wonderfully well. 

March 25th. A very full week. Running down Rest. 










March 28th. Stormy passage. Held nursing com- 

„ 29th. Arrived at Greenock about five. 

„ 30^. Came to Edinbro'. Feeling, rest and 
be thankful. 

April 1st. 

St. Giles service. 

„ 20th. 


„ 21st. 

Lochgilphead meeting. 

„ 22nd. 

, Went Glassary. 

„ 25th. 

Came to Largs. 

May 2nd. 

Came Douglas Support. 

„ 5th. 

" God behind difficulties." 

„ 8th. 

Came to Edinburgh. 

„ 15th. 

Drove to Inveresk. 

„ 19th. 

Came to Peterborough. 

„ 21st. 

To Cathedral. " Be strong," from 


„ 2tth. 

Came to London. 

June 6th. 

Started for Brussels. 

„ 1th. 


„ 8th. 

Came to Bethel. 

„ 9th. 

In bed, headache. 

„ 10th. 

Running down Rest. 

„ Uth. 

Early service chapel. Supper with 


„ 2Uh. 

Facing work in future. 

July 3rd. Went up Rhine. 
„ tth. Very stormy. Started 5.14. Spent at sea. 


July 5th. Came to York. 

7th. Came to Edinburgh. 
8th. Dentist and friends. 
10th. Lawyer Bank. Y.W.C.A. Queensferry. 

11th. To Dunstafmage. 
13th. School treat. Spoke to girls. Met 

friend of Dr. Lees. 
14th. Came to Tiree. 

15th. Drove west. Hylipol Manse. Week of 
taking stock. 
„ 18th. Archie and Elspeth arrived. 

Aug. 5th. Full of interest and work, and such 

8^. Came to Lismore. Halted at Oban. 

9th. Went to schools. 

10th. Kilcherran. 

12th. Opened Sale. Full of work. 

14th. Came to Helensburgh. 

15th. Went to Deaconess Laurie Fogo. 

lQth. To Eosneath. 

17th. Visited Clachan. 

Sep. 17th. Twice to church. Gale rising. New 

interests in old place. 
„ 18^. Came to Oban via Crianlarich. 
„ 19th. Came to Tobermory. Large Y.W.C.A. 
„ 20th. Great nursing meeting. Desperately 

„ 21st. Very stormy. 


Sep. 22nd. Boat did not go on. 
„ 25th. Came to Iona. 
„ 26th. Severe cold. 
„ 27th. Writing hard. Harold (the pony) 

„ 28th. Preparing for Y.W.C.A. Chair smashed 

„ 29th. Visited mother's cross and village. 
Week of great tension. 

Oct. 1st. Took Sunday School. Quiet time of 
preparation. Good class at night. 

„ 2nd. Excitement over Cathedral. 

„ 3rd. Got to Cathedral. Storm-staid. 

,, 4th. Got to Kiliemore. Meeting evening. 

„ 5th. Oban meeting at night. 

,, 1th. Dehghtful journey to Ravenswood. 
Wonderful sense of rest about Iona. 

„ 11th. Went on board at night. 

„ 12th. Long day in Cavalier. Reached Oban 

midnight. Went on " Fingal." 
„ 13th. Fearful toss, got to Bunessan. 
„ 14^. A full class, twenty children. 

Nov. 14th. Very stormy. Kept in. Sending out 

Fiery X for men. 
„ 24th. Fearful day. Feeling ill. Worry over 

„ 30^. Clearing up things. 


Bee. 1st. Started for Tiree. Splendid landing. 

,, 2nd. Desperately tired. In bed till after 

„ 9th. Got to both services. 

„ 10th. Defeated in getting to church. 

„ 11th. Rhona still at Aros. Fearful day. 

„ 13th. Expecting Rhona all morning. Started 
west, defeated. 

„ 15th. " Fingal " arrived without Rhona. 
Heard of her back at Tobermory. 

„ 16th. Terrible news about Wauchope. 
A week of anxious suspense. 

„ 20th. Post came. 

„ 22nd. Rhona arrived. 

„ 25th. Wild snowy day. 

„ 30th. Week of feeling carried. 

„ 31st. Only ourselves at church. Very wet, 
not stormy. War clouds. All tend- 
ing to make things as dark as can be. 
Is it a time of Judgment ? 

The description of her interests would not be 
complete, were they only confined to the work of 
teaching the girls and women who gathered into her 
classes. Clothing clubs, milk and soup kitchens, 
had to be established. Once she saw what she thought 
" a felt want," nothing would delay the work of 
supplying it. Giant Indolence was always lying 
across her path. The fatalism of the East, and the 
do-less-ness of the West combine to make a beautiful 
harmony in the Celt of the mystic seas. 


Writing to Lady Victoria, " the Rev. Dean of the 
Thistle " says, " The Celtic blood in me, on this 
matter, says, ' Do nothing you can help doing.' 
How have you overcome it ? There must be some 
Sassenach strain ! " Whatever " the strain," the 
language was always in the spirit of fighting the good 
fight. The diary only marks the conflicts with words 
of remembrance. " Tremendous morning of Soup 
Crusade. Balemartine men. Milk raid. Milk battle 
won." There was no rest in battles won. The conflict 
had almost certainly opened a vista of some other 
reform, and at it she went, levering " the middle- 
man," instructing head-quarters, and making forays 
among the feckless ones of the island. Many a con- 
science gave wings to the feet in the townships, when, 
from afar, the approach of the buckboard told that 
the reformer was at hand. No flight ever availed 
those whose dormant energies she intended to rouse, 
and by letter, or interview, they were all rounded in 
at last. There is something infectious in the spirit 
of work, as there is in that of idleness, and the single- 
hearted desire for the good of all under her eye and 
hand was too obvious to be long resisted. 

" Lady Victoria was right," has been said in many 
a quarter since her passing, and best is her memory 
cherished where the slack purpose is again braced, 
and loins girded anew for the race of fife. 

Some account of the ground covered by her was 
written for the " Oban Times " by the Rev. William 
Gillies, who had seen some of her work, though " not 
in her most active years," while he was the minister 


of the parish of Kirkapol from 1906-9. " She in- 
spired me with courage," he says, writing to one of 
the family. " Any good that may have resulted from 
my ministry in Tiree was mainly due to her." 

" In order to have the ailing and bedridden poor 
carefully attended to, Lady Victoria strove to have 
a Jubilee Nurse settled in each district. The nurses 
were at first regarded as an innovation, and, as in 
other Highland districts, they met with some preju- 
dice, but very soon Lady Victoria had the satisfaction 
of seeing the district nurses fully employed, and 
acknowledged by all sections of the community to 
be a necessity. 

" It was always a great grief to Lady Victoria 
that some children of the cottar class in Tiree and 
elsewhere should be allowed to grow up without an 
adequate supply of milk. She maintained that when 
she visited the schools, she could pick out those 
children who came from homes where no cow was 
kept. To give these cottar children a chance of 
growing up strong and healthy like their neighbours, 
she got the proprietor to subsidise milk cows at 
different places. In this way, all who required milk 
were supplied, whether they were in a position to 
pay or not. 

" It was Lady Victoria's sharp eye that detected in 
the young people of the Ross, Iona, and Tiree a genius 
for wood-carving. She brought instructors to the 
districts, who developed the latent talent. Her 
success in this direction is widely known. Artistic 
designs lay ready at hand on the sculptured stones 


in the graveyards of Iona and Kirkapol, Tiree. The 
pupils found beautiful Celtic patterns to inspire 
them. These, with various modifications, they 
transferred to wood with surprising results. The 
exquisite panels in the pulpit of the new Parish 
Church in Hylipol, in the erection of which Lady 
Victoria took an active part, will ever remain a 
monument to her success in reviving a forgotten 

" She never lost sight of the necessity of bringing 
the Ross of Mull, Iona, Tiree, and other outly- 
ing places, into closer touch with the mainland. 
She herself frequently experienced the trials and 
dangers of voyaging in these stormy waters, and of 
being ferried in places where, as she truthfully 
declared, only lifeboats should be used. Among the 
many schemes that occupied her busy brain, the pro- 
curing of a pier for Tiree had a foremost place. When 
she visited the island in her younger days in her 
father's yacht, she had seen engineers taking sound- 
ings and surveying Gott Bay, with a view to the 
erection of a pier. From the facts submitted to her, 
she firmly believed that the construction of a service- 
able pier was possible, and that it would prove an 
inestimable boon to the community. She was, 
therefore, unceasing in her efforts to procure this 
blessing for the people, and the success that attended 
the last scheme was largely due to her unwearied 
advocacy and to her influence. 

" Lady Victoria was fortunate in having the 
satisfaction of seeing much of what she strove so 


hard for, being realised. A telegraph cable was laid 
to the islands of Coll and Tiree. The postal arrange- 
ments were greatly improved. The mode of travelling 
to and from the islands was rendered more comfort- 
able, and this year, before taking her last farewell of 
Tiree, she had the pleasure of seeing the pier stretching 
well out into Gott Bay, and about half finished." 

The nursing of the poor and sick was the thing 
that she had from the beginning most on her heart. 
Poverty that could not command good nursing, 
and disease and weakness which could be relieved 
by trained and tender skill, engrossed her attention 
at once. She had an almost pathetic belief in the 
healing art, and no scepticism ever tinged her faith 
in the medical profession. 

That the islands should have good doctors and 
highly trained nurses was to her a simple necessity. 

Unfortunately she could not see eye to eye always 
with those who managed these affairs, and one of 
the sharpest and most wearing controversies through 
which she ever passed was on the question of whether 
the islands should have the nurses whose skilled 
training meant heavy expenses, or the less highly 
trained, which meant economy. 

She had no sympathy with " the penny-wise and 

pound-foolish " economy where the poor were con- 
cerned. Lady Victoria won and kept for Tiree the 
boon which ought to be appreciated by the people, 
the presence in the island of a fully trained nurse. 
To achieve this, it was necessary to break off from the 


Association whose officials, with a wonderful lack of 
understanding of the character they were fighting, 
and with an unusual absence of courtesy and kindli- 
ness, had caused her much vexation of spirit. Neither 
party seems to have been absolutely sympathetic 
with the outlook of the other. When the " bonny 
fecht " was over she bore no grudge, and was ready 
to see all the humours of the fray, and her own 
impetuous onsets throughout the battle-royal she 
describes in a letter to Mrs. Macdiarmid. 

Tobermory. Sep. 1st, 1904. 

Dear Mrs. Macdiarmid, 

I think that panacea which often before this 
has saved the lives of us Argylls, i.e. the sense of 
the ludicrous, has come to me this evening, after 
meetings. I am sure Mr. Macpherson has given 
you the grave, anxious side ; but, while too tired 
to tackle all the outing which lies before me, I must 
give you " the ludicrous." 

After they had all voted for status quo, although 
shewn the constitution no longer represented facts, 
then I said : " There is but one thing to be done 
now. I resign. I take with me my two Com- 

There was a flutter ! After Mr. Macpherson left, 
with a handshake, which I think meant : " You 
have been good and kept your temper," a point 
Mr. McVean, I could see, was dreadfully nervous 
over. When he came to fetch me, I said : " I 
think you can trust me to behave as my Father's 


daughter." I had two delicious flings ! I think, 
just before the vote was taken, Mr. S. said : " Don't 
you think it might be remitted to local com- 
mittees ? " " Yes, indeed," I replied. One is 
Mrs. M., who knows so well the value of the fully 
trained nurse. She was busy getting one, while 
legislating for us ; that anyone would do ! She said : 
" Because I thought I was told there was a lack 
of money." " Yes," I fared, " you judge every- 
thing by £ s. d." 

Another scene ! After I had given in my resig- 
nation, while A. was putting away his things, I 
said : " Now my lips are freed. I thought I had 
seen sad things in our lonely places, but I never 
saw a place terrorised like Tobermory ! Who of ? 
You ought to know, but I suppose it is yourself ! " 

Imagine some of them sending me a message : 
" Tell Lady V. we agree with her." Then, why 
did you not so vote ? 



" My half-day's work is done, 
And this is all my part ; 
I give a patient God 
My patient heart." 

From Diary. 

Jan. 6th, 1900. Tiree. 

Doctor and inspector. Clearing up. Good 
carving-class. Week closes on better news from 
South Africa. Anxious about father. 

The anxiety deepened through the following weeks, 
and soon it was clear that there was to be no return 
of the wonderful vitality which had sustained the 
strength of the Duke. 

On March 24th Lady Victoria reached Inveraray, 
and in another month, as she notes in " the time of 
the singing of birds," the end had come. 

From that hour the ties which bound her to home, 
and to the work among " His people," were loosened. 

Later on, she writes from Campbeltown to Lady 
Mary Glyn : " I cannot bear to think of that beautiful 
harbour without Him. But all places live anew to one, 
in another sense, if one has human interests there." 



In that spirit she was able to continue her labours 
through the scenes haunted with thronging memories : 

" Take, O boatman, thrice thy fee ; 
Take, — I give it willingly ; 
For, invisible to thee, 
Spirits twain have crossed with me." 

Henceforward there was a more wistful outlook 
for " the rest that remaineth," and her thoughts were 
more detached from the many claims of her outward 

Her advisers were pressing on her the desirability 
of winters passed in regions other than the islands. 
Warmer climates were recommended, but the real 
object aimed at was to limit the sphere which called 
upon her energies. She went again to Kaiserwerth, 
in Germany, and two winters were spent with her 
niece Lesley Clough Taylor, the one at Geneva and 
the last in Rome. When Lady Victoria had made 
up her mind to this adventure, she was filled with 
amusement as to the probable interpretation which 
would be put upon her " going to Rome." Lord 
Guthrie did not fail to remind her that in pre- 
Reformation days a Victoria Campbell, daughter of 
an Earl of Argyll, had been a nun, and another might 
follow the ancestral example. Both winters she 
thoroughly enjoyed. She found jeunes -piles to 
address at Geneva, and Waldensians in Rome to 
support. " Decided against Vatican," which appears 
in the daily notes, alluded to an expedition to see 
its wonders, and not its Head. The last record in the 


diary is given, and the letters which follow are in 
their order of subjects. 

Last entry in Special Diary. 

Feb. 2nd, 1901. The Lodge, Tiree. 

What worlds have " rolled between " since the 
last entry until to-day, when our beloved Queen's 
body has been laid to rest. Lome, in his official 
duty, receiving it at Windsor Castle. A little before 
Xmas he warned me he saw a change, but anything 
happening to Her seemed unbelievable. When, 
on Jan. 21st, I got a telegram from Archie, speaking 
of " a rally," I had a sense of shock. I have been 
between bed and couch, thus my going to London, 
for which I had a longing and yet a shrinking, 
has been impossible. I should have liked to 
see the wonderful sight, and hear the glorious 

Here, I think I have been able, spurred on by 
a telegram from Archie, to get ministers and the 
factor to mark the event by piper procession and 
church services. 

After a storm of wind and snow and sleet ever 
since she went, it did seem like a special bene- 
diction to have such a day of blessed sunshine. 
From morning to night it was one vista of beauty. 
The Mull hills deep in snow, seen first with the 
morning light, then in evening's crimson glow. 
Mr. Macdiarmid after service in Kirkapol Church 
marched the five pipers up to the gate here and 
proclaimed the King. 


Then the pipers played laments in the hall, 
and came in to shake hands and bid me farewell. 
Mr. Macdiarmid was pleased with my well-merited 
praise, for he had managed it very well ; he and 
the ministers and Mr. Barr worked splendidly. 

To Lady Mary Glyn. 

Tiree. Dec. 20th, 1901. 
I like to think of so many of you being together. 
If ever the day comes when the needs of these 
Islanders would not press even more heavily on 
me, were I away from them, I should like to join 
an English Xmas. As it is, as time wears on, one 
feels afresh what it is for a community to have no 
one " to look up to." I mean in the sense of giving 
them any little cheer. 

I have had rather a nasty knock up. Came from 
Mull desperately tired. 

Such sunshine to-day, as I write lazily in bed- 
room for mail ! 

Geneva. Jan. 3rd, 1902. 

My dearest Mary, 

I could not make out whether you were 
actually spending Christmas in the old haunt, 
and hesitated to write, only shooting off cards to 
the bairns, and quite in accordance with your 
views about its being for them one keeps high 

I have been so living in spirit where that brave, 
true, and noble life was hovering (Archbishop 


Temple). The final news came on Christmas 
evening, when I had insisted on looking from a 
raised room up two steps at the Tree lighted by 
the widow landlady for the amusement of her 
exiled guests, and having listened through dinner 
to a string band, while a sumptuous banquet 
had been served. 

I felt, deep down, a wee bit sick, thinking of the 
mother's way of keeping it, remembering the poor, 
etc. etc. 

I asked an English lady if she had seen the latest 
paper. " He is dead," she answered. I was glad 
to let Lesley finish the twirling round which the 
children and girls had begun (only one old pater 
in this hotel) and let her join me before making a 
move up. I could have cried. I know what it 
means to you and Teddy. 

The truth is, with no mention of it in the English 
Church yesterday, thinking of the wonderful beauty 
of the sun rising (a la Inveraray), tipping the 
mountain-tops with fiery gold and crimson, I had 
let it go by me. I felt as if the vigorous con- 
stitution would again assert itself. 

How touching his last speech on the Education 
Bill ! It read like a farewell ! 

Yes, dearest Mary, I love kith and kin. I own 
the first Christmases in the lone Island were hard 
work. Since one made them " keep it," it became 
a festival to the little group of ministers, school- 
masters, etc. It made one wae to think of them 
missing it. I wondered more and more, even in 


the simplest Hotel life, how people can do it for 
long, and short of the sternest duty. 

To the same. 

March, 1902. 

Although very well physically, I am desperately 
head tired. I never thought, save for one, I could 
care for land questions, i.e. settlement, as I have 
done. All the longing to bring classes together 
without the middle-man. Seeing, as one can't 
help doing, " both sides." The unutterable touchi- 
ness of the people. Their simplicity, leading them 
to be duped by mercenaries. 

I feel it is selfish to leave them, but I think I 
have done all I can meanwhile. Would that it 
could have been more. 

It has been a stiff campaign ever since we landed 
in Iona. 

For weeks I have been pledged to dear Fanny 
Mackenzie for some days. My dear ! I am running 
in like Cinderella ! I am only fit for an old friend's 
house, till I can look round. 

To the same. 
Lismoee. 1903. 

I think Tiree was a success with the little 
Balfours. Oswald reminds me mentally of Papa. 
Such an appreciation of scenery I never saw in so 
young a child. Dear little people. Somehow, my 
maiden — grandmotherly heart — Martha, all else 
went out to them nearly as much as it did to Lesley. 


We halted at Iona one night. The " Cottage 
Nurse " there in addition to the Queen's, as well as 
here, a great success. On Friday last, I am happy 
to say, Mr. Allan, at Tobermory, was beaten, 
seventeen to six, in an attempt to foist them on 
two of our districts, instead of the all-round 
trained ones. 

I believe Eustace accuses us of never ending a 
letter without descriptions of a sunset ! I must 
begin with the morning on the mountains. Such 
a beautiful little smack with brown sails, just with 
its snail-pace making for the shore ; and I knew 
the wife was looking so anxiously to see it would be 
all right in a fast-approaching thunderstorm. It 
seemed to " go over us," in answer to an unspoken 
prayer, as I hurried, escorted by this redoubtable 
woman, past a bull, and with thunder rolling. 
I said : " Ahem ! these storms not so bad for ships, 
as the wind ones." Here, then, she is, at 7 a.m., 
trying to make for the cottage below me on a 
painted ocean. If ever the words, " As the moun- 
tains are round about Jerusalem," lived for one, 
it is in this glorious plateau of an Island. 

I meant to have written to Ralph when I heard 
of his success, from Tiree. I never had a more 
crowded five weeks. I feel such a longing, as 
members of the family have taken to Island life, 
that our own should suffice. I feel such a (holy ?) 
jealousy over it all ! 

I can say it because it is in the departments, 
especially where we can say, " Because I am one 


of father's children," it seemed as though one 
purpose of the call to lift anchor last winter was 
to show one it must not happen again. Never have 
I known since the 80's such deep discontent in 
Tiree. Nearly all of it traceable to mismanage- 

To the same. 
Dec. 28th, 1903. 

I have had a knock up with a tired chill, 
though hoping to get out to-day for first time for 
three and a quarter weeks. The people I lent the 
house to last year broke my Inhaler, so, pending 
getting another, I was working with a wee jug 
when it splashed over my arm. The wicked old 
Dr. said it was a " providence," as it gave me rest. 

The last entry for the year is : — 

Been a time of great weariness. Got to know 
nurses well. Kelp works. Great nursing difficulty 
settled so far. 

In spirit with all Christ's people to-night. 

From Diary. 
Tiree. Jan. 8th, 1904. 
Ran to see sick cases. Dr. not pleased. 

To Lady Mary Glyn (on the Church Case). 
Iona. 1904. 

I think her dear heart would have broken, 
could she have foreseen this Judgment. What a 


marvellous old man the Lord Chancellor is in his 
subtle arguments ! Do tell me what Archbishop 
" Chimes " (Maclagan) says on the occasion. Tell 
him I long to know. How I wish he could per- 
suade them to " discourse sweet music ! " Do 
you remember, " the harmony of our wills with 
God's will " ? 

Ritchie's things are beautiful, but I wish they 
could have combined it with help to the people 
in founding a school here. 

Some of the letters which were written to Lady 
Victoria through these years reflect the news they 
have received of her undying remembrance of all the 
life and interest of the mainland, and her frequent 
demands that her kith and kin should let her hear 
all that was going on. If there was reticence on such 
matters, it was only from the common knowledge 
that if she thought she could be of use, she would 
" fling herself into the first cargo-boat " and come off 
to be at the disposal, as she termed it, of those who 
were in very present straits. She never demanded 
sympathy for her own remote life. She was literally 
too busy to write or think of herself ; if it had been 
otherwise, these pages might have told her own out- 
look and not the vision, as it was seen by others. 
Miss Coventry, writing on her " Life," in the sense 
that it had passed and was about to be written, says : 

I don't think I ever knew anyone who did so 
much, and said so little about it. In fact, not only 


" so little," but actually nothing, i.e. her share of 
it, for of that she never spoke to me ! And I doubt 
if anyone would be more surprised than herself 
to find what you are finding as the result of her life 
of unselfish devotion amongst them. A real case 
of, " When saw we Thee ? " 

There were many friends who never forgot her, 
remembered ever the way she had gone, thought of 
her as winter storms swept over the sheltered 
city streets, and when her well-known and most 
tantalising handwriting came to them through the 
mail, they knew she was thinking of their peculiar 
sphere, and was going to use them for her own 
" irons in the fire," or as " links " in a chain of good 
works. Sometimes, those who loved her well read 
between the lines they so slowly deciphered that the 
spirit was flagging, or the perplexities were pressing 
on her always over-anxious mind. Their answering 
letters of understanding were kept by her, and bear 
evidence of having been often re-read. 

She asked advice of many, and it was sent back to 
her wrapped in the words which bid her be of good 
cheer, for she was not forgotten. Many of these 
letters fill blanks in the records of her days, and a few 
of them are placed here as evidences that her thoughts 
were often afield. 

The first is from the late Dr. David Clement Scott, 
one of the many letters she had in answer to those she 
wrote to the workers in the Church's far-flung battle- 


From the Rev. David Clement Scott (Blantyre), 

Tunbeidge Wells. August 31st, 1892. 

Dear Lady Victoria, 

I thank you so very much for your letter. 
I have never heard a better name for Dr. Charteris 
than " Professor Pax." He is not Professor Pax 
quite regarding Africa, because he writes to me 
about it and also to others, but in a whispering 
gallery as far as our Committee is concerned. 

One never saves his life by carefully watch- 
ing it, and I fear Reconstitutions of a good 
many bodies will suffer by timidity and despond- 

A good deal of faith is needed when one comes to 
face problems of God's presence and judgments 
among the powers that be. And yet that which 
does not fulfil its trust must resign its power, but 
at what a cost ! I have been translating the 
Gospels, and with only Greek and Mang-anje 
before one, the vividness of these marvellous books 
is greater than I have ever yet seen. One interprets 
and translates, however, from all the memory one 
has, and all the memories the world has of a mighty 
past, as well as from experience of pain and trial 
and life discipline presently experienced. I shall 
write to you from Africa, if I may. We sail on 
Saturday at 2 o'clock, s.s. " Mexican," from South- 

Yours faithfully, 

David Clement Scott. 


From the Rev. Dr. Charteris. 


Your notes of your journey are very interesting. 
I believe Mr. Brechin, the new minister in Paris, 
is a very fine young fellow. I know his wife is 
charming, and his father-in-law, the Rev. William 
Smith, of Unst, is a very fine type of the old 
Scottish minister. I am glad you saw them. 
You are a thorough Presbyterian ! 

There are some people in Geneva who have always 
taken a great interest in our Church of Scotland 
service. A Mr. Bossi and a Mr. Bois, I think. 

They once, three of them, dined with us, and 
I remember when a syphon was slowly distilling 
its ginger ale in a tempest of froth one of them 
watching the other said : " Ma foi, besoin de 
patience," which has become a proverb with us since. 

Yes, I see very well the Highland child is home- 
sick : trying French service, German service, 
reading of Gaelic Bible, and moralising on the 
excellent school " Lesley " is attending, in order 
to keep down the lump in her throat and dry up 
the haziness in her eyes. They are looking, those 
poor eyes, to find rough Highland hills in Mount 
Blanc's smooth cold snow, and hear the swish of 
Atlantic waves in the ripple of the Lake of Geneva. 
And then you croon to yourself the hymn : 

" Oh, think of the home over there ! " 

And you find comfort in this, that you are doing 
your duty. God bless you in doing it. 


From The Very Eev. The Dean of the Thistle, 
I wish you a pleasant voyage and speedy return 
to us, but do not wish to let you go without saying 
how grateful I am to you for your kind help, in 
regard to our new Guild. 

From Dr. Charteris. 


I wonder how you are in these gales ; I think 
I see you bending to one side in your buckboard 
to meet all this fury of the blast ! 

It is clear that the Church Controversy won't be 
cleared up by an Act of Parliament in the current 
year. The Commission Report won't be ready, 

Do you care for a creed ? 

Ever, dear senior associate, yours very affec- 

Sep. 26th, 1895. 

May you have a real good, useful, happy time ! 
and may many, many, even in the present time, 
rise up and call you blessed ! 

May your own heart rejoice in peace and rest in 
the Lord. May yours be health and strength, and 
every good thing of heaven and earth. 

I wish you much blessing in your visit to Tiree ; 
many souls brought nearer to Christ ; many 
untrained recruits trained to fight the battle of 


the Lord in their own cottage, clachan, and village. 
God be with you. 

A. H. Charteris. 

The Rev. George Wilson, d.d., St. Michael's, 

Dear Lady Victoria, 
I will gladly send you a parcel of elementary 
teaching on the Lord's Supper. But I know of 
nothing in English that will meet your need. 
What is wanted is a tender and faithful statement 
on the fact that coming to the Lord's Table is 
for the Christian, not permissive, but imperative. 
And another fact which should be tenderly and 
faithfully set forth is that those who are not fit 
to come to the Lord's Supper are not fit to present 
their children for baptism. Can you not find a wise, 
spiritually-minded Gaelic minister who will write 
a readable little book on these lines ? I have long 
thought the state of the Highland mind on the 
Lord's Supper a kind of Christian scandal. I 
know the feeling of the " shrinking " Highlander, 
but surely the Pastors should try at least to let 
in the light. 

Ever yours, 

George Wilson. 

In these later years there were more meetings of 
the family in the summer months in the islands. 
Lady Victoria was jealous when they were in islands 
" not our own," but she went to see Lord and Lady 


George in Jura, the little Balfours found her in Tiree, 
and Iona was often colonised by those granddaughters 
the Duke called " the Suffragan Bishops." " Week 
of great beauty. Pleasure in Glyn girls," is her 
remembrance of these days. She loved to find herself 
with the young generation, and the letters to the 
absent parents, not half as anxious as the " Martha " 
Aunt, were full of detail. In Iona she trusted Mr. 
McPhail to aid her in a watchfulness she could not 
exercise when they took to the boats. " I tell 
McPhail I do put my trust in man," she writes. 
McPhail had more than once withstood her own 
intention of crossing the Sound, when it was a smother 
of foam below, and of drifting blasts above ; days 
when she would have quaked to let anyone but herself 
put foot in a boat. 

To keep her trysts, and to do her work, Lady 
Victoria had always a firm conviction that the way 
would be made plain. It was not always so clear 
to those who had to take her across the ferry. Their 
faith did fail them. She once, not too well pleased 
to meet with opposition, told McPhail he was no 
Christian. The answer she received was conclusive, 
that he preferred they should be living Christians 
on Iona, than dead ones at the bottom of the Sound. 

Iona. Sep. 18th, 1905. 
My dearest Mary, 

With the preface that the trio are delightful, 
I shall give you details to make you laugh, but mind 
you don't betray me. 


Let me recommend to all parents the Isles for 
an over-development of the Free-will. I hope I 
shall find the Clerk of the " Dunara " to explain 
how (as I suspected) that route was closed. I 
handed it to Ralph, who, however, had got the 
information of another new quick communication 
with Small Isles, so he came prepared to catch that 
connection by leaving to-morrow with the " Grena- 

Maisie came off the steamer with the gauze 
veil, and sat opposite me with a look, half of absent 
" stares," so like Mama, mixed up with Teddy, it 
was all I could do to prevent laughing. She and 
I gossiped till one o'clock luncheon, while Meg 
went out with Ralph to vapour about McPhail, 
as Pock would have said. We have Mrs. Dixon 
in the house, the mother of the Professor of 
Literature. She gave me a sense of rest, as I got 
over feeling head tired on such a glorious evening. 
I went up to see their rooms, and exhort sheets be 
extra aired. I had Ralph's fire laid. Then, that 
afternoon, I bathed my soul with this delightful 
literature person. I own that I have had as strenu- 
ous a six weeks as I ever had. I feel something 
" resting " in the bairns, while beginning again 
the routine here to-day. 

Saturday afternoon they all elected to come 
with me in pony-chair, with the promise of fishing 
between tea and dinner, rabbit - shooting after 
dinner by moonlight. 

This last, I thought, sounded doubtful, but 


held my peace, and again had a great inward smile 
when Ralph and Maisie, who seemed to be his 
shadow, said : " McPhail says it is too dark ; 
can see nothing smaller than a haystack." I 
replied : " Yes, you might be the rabbit." So, 
instead of this, these two sportive persons went out 
to see Professor Dixon's boat drawn up for the 
winter by moonlight, which, Maisie declared, was 
a weird sight. 

Before dinner Meg and I walked over to the 
Cathedral. I showed her the window where we sat 
langsyne, after coming over the Bishop's wall. 

Sunday we worshipped very much according to 
the Presbyterian rites. When I apologised for the 
absence of hymns, explaining how they were 
always used now in modern churches, Maisie said 
reprovingly : " Oh ! I do like the paraphrases so 
much." I felt small. Then Meg : "I would much 
rather go to this Cathedral, than the one down 
there," signing to the Cowley Fathers. 

Then on Sunday the trio walked, and got well 
away before I had the Class in the dining-room. 
We had high tea in the evening. 

As you will see, the Islands are the last places 
to let one get one's own way entirely. 

If Lady Victoria did not always get her own way 
in the islands, neither did the islanders under her 
beneficent laws for their welfare. " She would gie' us 
an awful cuff with one hand, but she wad aye be liftin 
us up wi' the ither," was said by one who lived under 


her rule. She was always convinced that her view of a 
situation must be the right one. Due largely from the 
integrity of her purpose, which had no other aim in 
view, save the good of those whose walk in life she 
wished to stimulate and direct. 

Iona. Sep. 21st, 1906. 

My dearest Mary, 

It is strange and nice the way in which the 
Hielan' Mary's Birthday, always (of late years) in 
the autumn manoeuvres,, finds me in a place in 
which there is an ineffable peace, and so do I 
feel it. 

Another of these glorious days, which have come 
to bless us after a pre-equinoctial period in Bunes- 
san. One has an increasing joy in the beauty of 
it all. 

It has been a strenuous time there with nursing, 
clothing clubs, etc., so that when we literally 
glided across yesterday evening from Fionphort 
(where I had put in three nights) as in a gondola, 
it seemed like Heaven ! I had leisure to think of 
my kith and kin, and toddled with my German maid 
to the fast-disappearing stock of Miss Muir, at the 
end of our Columba garden, to seize upon two 
little articles I don't think you have seen yet. 

The Harvest is a good fortnight behind, and the 
Islanders are all working frantically. 

McPhail out in an expedition with nearly every 
child for a picnic on Kintra, so I had a kind of 
royal private landing, with Archie MacArthur 


helping one, as no woman ever does (I don't mean 

Iona. Sep. 21st, 1907. 

My dearest Mary, 

I was delighted with your Bairns yesterday, 
as showing real gold of character. 

I had purposely not even proposed their singing 
at one or both of the women and girls' teas. Even 
after Miss Ritchie proposed and requested, I said 
I would leave utter freedom, but would pass it 

Maisie said as a singer had promised to give one 
or two she would not be wanted, but would help 
in handing things. 

I arranged all for their fishing. High tea, supper, 
etc. When she learnt that Mrs. Lamb had failed, 
on the spot she produced quite beautifully, " Ye 
banks and braes." It is indeed a wonderful gift. 
A glorious voice. Then she managed so well to 
get them to join in the chorus of " Bonny Dundee." 
She nearly did for me ! 

They are boating whenever feasible. I feel quite 
at rest. I told MacPhail I put my trust in man 
with regard to him in this. 

They are great darlings, and beloved here. 
Life is a hustle here, as elsewhere, but I thought 
I must just tell you and Teddy what joy it was to 

What memories crowd round one ! Do you 
remember Georgina Ritchie bringing us the cups 


of tea in the window of the south transept ? 
Amelia's shock ? My telling her, and you, our 
Lord would have fed the multitudes % 

Two Belgians here for quarries, turned up 
yesterday. Mrs. Mackenzie pleaded with me for 
the French. I did what was necessary for the 
moment, then told her to turn to nieces if required. 

From the Rev. A. Fleming, d.d. 

Kingussie. 1907. 

I have more than once since our visit to Iona 
meant to write to you ; for that visit opened my 
eyes in a way that they have never been opened 
before to all that you are, and have been, to the 

I confess that it was with much wonder and 
admiration that we both realised all the hardships, 
all the obstacles and difficulties, your triumphant 
faith and unalterable devotion had enabled you, by 
God's goodness, to overcome, and how much your 
name meant to many an unknown old woman 
crooning over the fire, tholing her rheumatism 
and bronchitis all alone, and with no earthly name 
that was magic to her save that of Lady Victoria. 
The sick and poor of Mull, Iona, and Tiree are your 
intercessors at the Throne, and your monument 
stands on a high hill among them — to those who 
have eyes to see it — out in the seas of the west. 
I shall always now think of you as " The Lady of 
the Isles," and your ministry there shall be for 
a remembrance for you. 


You might — forgive my saying so ! — be at any 
number in Ainslie Place, so far as your calligraphy 
" is concerned." God speed your coracle. 

Rome. Dec. 21st, 1907. 

My dearest Mary, 

Such a longing comes over me to have father 
and Dottie to tell over their memories here, as one 
recalls scraps of news, old letters, when they in 
one of our old carriages entered all the ways. No 
wonder Papa travelled for two years with Docky. 
We are established en Pension with a glorious 
view over the old city. St. Peter's being the centre- 
piece. The sunsets a joy, especially to me who, of 
necessity, am somewhat of a stay-at-home. 

Lesley and I have read together the Bible, learnt 
dialogue, and it is beginning in my case to oust 
the Gaelic. 

The Embassy people have been most kind. 
Now write to me what you are all doing. How I 
long for Archie to get the Sun ! 

In 1908 Lady Victoria was at Bunessan, when Lady 
Mary with " the trio " came to Iona. One of the many 
letters she wrote, in order to effect a meeting, is given 
here. It is extraordinarily typical of her thought for 
detail ; she left nothing to chance, as far as minute 
directions could ensure success. These notes were 
sped by many a hand on shore, and by many a purser 
on board the steamers. In Tiree Mr. Macdonald, 
the postmaster, earned the name she gave him, 


" The Prince of Links." He forwarded her missives 
over the island by a series of messengers, called 
by Lady Victoria " sandpipers." Often the words 
occur, " sent out the fiery cross," and John Mac- 
kinnon, mounted on one of the many well-known 
horses which drew the buckboard, would be sent 
hasting along the sands. 

The minister at the Manse tied a string on his 
gate, certain that a missive would be hanging to it, 
when he saw the " fiery cross " speeding on its way. 
Everyone knew her methods, and lent their powers 
to aid her " links." There is a tale of her in bed at 
the Lodge on a wild winter's morning. The " Fingal," 
unexpectedly, had come in on her hind legs, and would 
leave the shelterless island as soon as might be. It 
was imperative someone should be met on board, 
or some message sent away by her. The occasion 
brooked no delay, and as the necessities of the position 
faced her, the means of meeting them instantly came 
to her mind. " Is John downstairs ? Is he ready to 
go ? Has he had his breakfast ? No ? Then take 
him this." And the tray, daintily set with the fare 
provided for her slender appetite, was hastily thrust 
into the hands of the messenger, with the command 
that John was to be instantly fed, and to make all 

Necessity was literally with her the mother of 
invention, and when the telegraph cable was broken, 
and mail and cargo-boats were fitfully absent, then 
her genius, and the prowess of her linksmen, sand- 
pipers, and mounted horseman, came to the fore. 


From Tiree. Going to Bunessan. Arrangement 
with Lady Mary, coming to see her from 

I wrote return in a feverish hour. When the 
boy whistles, if we are not ready — all hope over 
for two days. 

I write this data for your guidance, so that you 
don't waste time or strength. I think you forget 
the uncertainties of weather and distance. You 
cannot be in and out, so arrange when on the spot 
to have a good day with me. Getting all food and 
a dressing-room. 

Wire for a machine. Better mention wagonette 
as safest, four-wheeled. 

Let me have a wire. Before Monday, hopeless. 
The earliest I can arrive is the 4th, and it takes 
a day or two to get things arranged, so that I can 
turn round in the cottage. 

Then, if I could find a note to say — Such a day 
is the first he might be over for fishing — I could say 
to a friend : " May they have it any day after — 
up to such a date." This would leave them free. 

If I get a wire, my second room, food all day, 
will be ready, and a joy to have a talk. It is a 
six-mile road. 

7 p.m. This did miss our first, but here goes. 
I see, poor dear, you don't arrive till 7th. 

All right ! Then don't cross till you hear I am 
safe over, established ! 

You see, if you come over, and I don't know, 


I might be out visiting, which would be trying. 
I can arrange a cosy time if you follow my direc- 

Some attempt must be made to give a consistent 
picture of Lady Victoria's settled presence in the 
Lodge. When she regularly returned to it, she was 
able to make it more of a home than when she had 
passed from one temporary abode to another. Wher- 
ever she stayed, she planned out her day and her 
work. She needed, and was fortunately able to 
take, short rests during the day, and the good gift 
of almost instant and refreshing sleep was always 
with her. Her day began early ; she was called at 
seven, and very often was awake and reading long 
before that hour. 

In the morning, when able to come downstairs, 
she was to be found in the " sanctum " ; a room 
where she did the routine business of her household, 
and saw all the people connected with her work. 
Some days " the plan of campaign " would take her 
far west. Then Ian Deleas would bring round the 
buckboard before noon. In it were the various horses 
supplied by her friend, Mr. Barr, and their names 
were suited to their qualities. Of one it is written : 
" Drysdale took his name from a famous Free Kirk 
Evangelist who used to haunt Tiree. Of the two, 
the type accomplished far more genuine evangelistic 
work than the prototype ! " Lady Victoria loved 
" the dear beasties," and thought of their rest days and 
feeds, as she did of those of all her brethren. Settled 


into the buckboard with all her haps and arrange- 
ments, the expeditionary force would be set in 
motion. Visits to the sick, to the officials, and to the 
people who must be " looked up " and organised. 
Baiting took place in some friendly crofter's house. 
There the coffee was made hot, the sandwich was 
eaten, the hot bottle refilled, and the few minutes 
taken of a deep slumber, and then John and the 
carriage were once more in readiness. One day in 
the week the class was held at " Sahara," a distant 
district, white with the heaped and driven sands. 
There the " mothers " were met, the affairs of the 
clothing club discussed, and a talk held with every- 
one present. No one was a stranger to her, after the 
first hour of acquaintance : no one was forgotten 
even after years of absence. Most of her friends had 
a name given them. Where there are so many of 
one or two clans distinctive titles are a help, and 
Lady Victoria had a happy knack of suiting the title 
to the individual. 

If their peculiarities were successfully described, 
with that instinct for character which she possessed, 
there was no sting in the humour that nailed the 
quality to a name. " The Rev. Laddie " remembers 
that on hearing his title, " I had the audacity to 
read the following Sunday, ' Let no man despise 
thy youth/ for which I was duly and deservedly 

It was late afternoon before the buckboard was 
seen coming home over the sands of Gott. " Many 
a time," says one of those in Island House, " I 


used to watch her going home from a class here, 
the buckboard jolting away into the dark, the gleam 
of the red lamps marking its course." When her 
work had lain east, the drive home was over the 
wet, glistening sands, reflecting the sunset glow ; 
she rejoicing ever in the glory above and below, for 
to her it seemed " the very gates of heaven." 

As soon as the carriage was visible over the sands, 
Knowles would be prepared to receive Lady Victoria. 
If it had been " a wild day," there was first the 
stripping of the streaming outer wraps. They were 
ultimately hoisted by a pulley to the kitchen ceiling, 
and there allowed to drip. Often the traveller came 
in so cold that the bedroom couch would be drawn 
almost into the fire, and water of the hottest was 
brought to dip the stiffened hands in. The admoni- 
tions of those who had told her the weather was unfit 
for the keeping of the tryst were met with the laughing 
account of the day's difficulties, till at last even the 
vexed soul of the indignant Knowles would be healed 
by having to join in the convulsions of laughter. 
Or, if fatigue and neuralgia had for the moment 
prostrated her, there was a revival after tea, and a 
long evening of rest, and a " gossip " with the girl 
friend, or some other guest. After dinner, Lady 
Victoria put aside the thoughts and work of the day. 
There was to be a rest and change from " the rough 
island story." Newspapers were read, the letters 
written for the outgoing mail, or some book read aloud 
which had to do with the larger world of interest. 
On Saturdays she was at home to all who cared to 


come and see her. It was the day, as far as possible, 
that she kept for the Island House children, and 
Mr. and Mrs. McDiarmid's family had a very warm 
place in her heart. 

No one came without receiving the outpouring 
of an hospitality which never recognised that a 
larder or store-room could be empty. If Knowles 
pointed out the stores had not come in, and this 
or that was not to be had, she was sent out for a 
drive to brush off the " Martha cobwebs," or sent 
back to her domain with the assurance she could 
make it right, for she always knew how to manage. 
The word " difficulty " she only recognised when it 
came into conjunction with the word " overcome." 
Sometimes every room had a visitor waiting to have 
a conference, but time is of no moment in the mystic 
isles, and the waiting was done under the sense 
that the welcome was always there when the hostess 
was disengaged. 

Close to the Lodge is the croft, christened by Lady 
Victoria, " The Lodge Farm." Mrs. Mackinnon 
and her family were among the first of her fellow- 
workers. When she lived in the west end, and drove 
east to have her classes, it was in this house that 
Lady Victoria first held them. There the girls met 
till at length they were crowded out and had to 
adjourn to the school-house. They were happy hours 
she spent among them. The success of her work 
already evident, and the friendships which she made 
with " the Rev. Hector," the minister of Kirkapol, 
and with his brothers and sisters. " Ian Lady " — 


Ian Deleas — " Faithful John/' was her right-hand 
man in the Lodge, and he knew, as none other, how 
to help her into the buckboard, and save her from 
all the fatigue that strong and thoughtful aid could 

So sped the winter months, till the day came round 
for looking across the waters towards " the Holy 
City," and preparing there to keep the great tryst. 
She was often laid aside in the islands, but she never 
had in the western seas any of those alarming ill- 
nesses which elsewhere brought her to the gates of 

One of these she was to undergo in the winter 
of 1906. She had left Tiree to pass Christmas at 
Inveraray, but she only reached it to be taken with 
a long and wearying illness. 

Dec. 22nd, 1906. 

Reached the old Home. Feeling very done. 
Great strain. Running down the Rest. 

The death of Principal Story in 1907 affected her 
much, and in January there occurs the rare entry : 
" Must give in." She reached Edinburgh, but the 
illness there became a very serious one, and it was not 
till March that she was able to get out. " Perfect 
reception of good-byes," she notes. She rested 
nearly a month at Peterborough, and in May, when 
she came to London, " the Dr. indicated must be 
a time of rest," was the not unnatural result of a 


In November, 1908, at Edinburgh, she had an 
attack of influenza pneumonia, and the family were 
rapidly summoned. For days her life hung in the 
balance, but she was once more, aided by her high 
courage and brave endurance, to be given back to 
the large world that loved her. As she recovered, 
her room was one of the best places to be in. Certain 
was every incomer to hear the ring of welcome in 
the voice which, however weak, was always bright. 
There were to be found her old friends, bringing her 
all the news, and finding ever a keenly interested 

Miss Macrae, " Phoebe," was her secretary, and 
the fellow- worker in all her plans. Her transgression 
in having summoned the family had been forgiven, 
with many a reproof for giving unnecessary alarms, 
but in reality she knew how ill she had been. To 
one of the sisterhood, who lived near Edinburgh and 
was able to see her almost daily, they were weeks 
to be held in remembrance. When work was im- 
possible no one rested more completely, and she took 
the gift of loving friendships brought into her room 
with complete happiness. " Who do you think I 
have had ? " Or, as Christmas drew near, " Are you 
prepared to help me with Christmas presents \ 
Come back in time forbohea, we will have a cosy crack." 

And the cracks which had waited over many a 
busy year were held, and her gathered wisdom and 
deepening charity towards humanity gilded the 
communing of these latter days. 

The move to Rhu Lodge on the Gareloch was 


made by motor in January, and it was an experiment 

which was surrounded by anxieties. That the 

weather was tempestuous was nothing in the thought 

of a journey for Lady Victoria ; but it was also bitterly 

cold, a thing she always felt acutely, and for some 

days snow storms blocked the roads. The start was 

at last made, in two motor-cars, one following with 

Miss Macrae inside, in case anything happened to 

the one in which was Lady Victoria, her nurse, and 

one of the sisters by the driver. In a short time 

it was the relief car which came to a halt. Those with 

Lady Victoria hoped that this would not be noticed, 

and as the object was to get her as soon as possible 

to her destination, the driver was told to continue his 

way. Very soon a knocking at the window with 

backward signals indicated her usual opinion : " We 

ought to go to the rescue." For once she had no 

control over the driver, and signals were made in 

return that there was to be no delay. Fortunately 

for the peace of mind of all concerned, the relief 

motor, having dealt with a puncture, overtook the 

leading car, and the safety of Miss Macrae was 

obvious to the anxious invalid. 

It was a strange home-coming, through the deep 
gloaming of the winter's afternoon. There had been 
so little hope of her recovery that her return to the 
shores of the old home was very like a dream. As 
the motor sped by the shore of the Gareloch her 
eyes were fixed on the circle of the hills, and across 
the racing tideway of the ferry the lights of Rosneath 
Castle were a welcome to her. 


On the sunny shore of Row she waited for the 
return of her strength. The coming of spring-time 
was always a help to her, and her brother, the Duke, 
was often at Rosneath, caring for all that could help 
her convalescence and induce her really to give her- 
self rest. 

The letters which are given are those which tell of 
the parting with her friend " Professor Pax," a review 
of her illness written to Lady Mary, and a word of 
request to her minister in Tiree. 

On Dr. Charteris' death to Mrs. Maxwell. 

May 9th, 1908. 

My dear President, 
I don't know what you must think of me, 
but you will have been able to make allowances 
for a London rush at the last, and in the midst of 
a bereavement which I confess to feel more than 
anything since my Father's death. I think I 
wrote this to Dr.- Lees, which, I suppose, is the 
reason he spoke strongly yesterday on its being 
quite wrong not to feel how mercifully dealt with 
he had been. One occasion more for thanksgiving. 
" He had been allowed to see his work accomplished, 
which few are," then taken at one stroke with 
little or no suffering. It is all true, but he and 
Mrs. Gordon came on my horizon about the same 
time, and in their several ways had the strongest 
determining influence which has come into my 
life, and one's heart cries out, as one pillar after 
another is removed. Will you find out about the 


two " treasures " for me at once. I should prefer 
a Scotch maid if such can be found, to face Islands, 
Continent, and all. 

6 Palmeeston Place, Edinburgh. Dec. 22nd, 

My dearest Mary, 

There has been a horrible fatality about days 
when I tried to write to you and I have been 
obliged to postpone it. It all seems like a dream. 
I felt so " fit " when I returned from Islands this 
year ; and when Ian first offered Rhu Lodge I felt 
what a rest it would be, but that I ought to be 
in more of a working place ! Then the crash. 
I have so wondered " why." It has certainly shown 
one the unbounded love and kindness of people. 
Now, the last week, I do feel as if life were re- 
turning, not only restored existence ! I have 
followed everything. So glad you are pleased 
about Stepney. 

I wrote to the dear Archbishop, perhaps quite 
illegibly. He must have had crowds. 

Dr. James has been wonderful about getting 
the heart steadied. He is so interesting. No 
wonder father used to ask for " the Edinburgh 

To the Rev. D. Macpherson. 
Rhu Lodge. Jan. 23rd, 1909. 

Oh, my dear minister, you will bring my grey 
hairs down with sorrow to the grave ! . . . 


She had replied advising another season of the 
year. I took that side of matters, explaining how 
she might be tossed to and fro, with no good meet- 
ing for weeks. Urged her corresponding again in 
summer when, D.V., I may be permitted to go 
again to you, when we might arrange (before 
harvest) for a special gathering. Do, meantime, 
urge our necessarily small classes as to weekly 
gatherings to go on the lines I tried to teach, 
i.e. if you approve. 

1st. Encourage all girls to join Y.W.C.A., be- 
cause of its world-wide protection to wanderers. 

2nd. To enlist all women, including girls, be- 
longing to our Church into Guild fellowship, under 
at least the pledge : " To desire to be taught with 
a view to becoming workers in God's vineyard." 

I found the first pledge on card frightened some. 
Justifiably so, if it meant full-blown Christians ! 

Do write me a regular " ceilidh " about every- 
thing. I came here on Tuesday in a motor-carriage 
with a nurse, my sister, Lady Frances Balfour, 
and following us Miss Macrae, who has been a 
devoted friend, a sister of the Crown Court minister. 

It is going to be recruiting here. At present 
I don't feel much good, as the journey tried me 
dreadfully, seventy -four miles. I prefer the 
" Fingal," but tell it not in Gath ! 

Tell the dear people my heart often goes out to 

I am only joking when I pretend to be in despair 
with you. 


The Islands were to have her for another winter. 
Less was attempted, there was more waiting for all 
and sundry to come to her, fewer attempts to face 
in all weathers the tracks which led to her people 
and her work. " She was quieter," all say, as they 
look back on that last time when her days were to 
be spent in the west. " She seemed less vexed if 
things went wrong, so gentle and patient." The 
strength so severely tried by the winter of 1907 
had never returned, and the change was only con- 
cealed by the spirit which always kindled with 
renewed ardour as she met her friends and those who 
needed her sympathy. 

Christmas Day, 1909, was to be the last that 
Lady Victoria kept in the Lodge. 

She had determined to keep it with even greater 
observance than before. She sent out cards that she 
was " At Home," and the whole day was planned 
to include the pleasure of as many of her friends as 
she could get into the Lodge. A service began the 
day, " the Ship of Good Hope " was lighted up, 
and her gifts of loving remembrance distributed. 
Annie Campbell, her friend and housekeeper, had 
inherited the mantle of Mrs. Knowles ; she under- 
stood as well as her forerunner how to save 
Lady Victoria from all " Martha " cares, and she 
arranged the hospitality in a way which never gave 
even that hostess any anxiety. " Annie understands 
how to do it all," she wrote, when her kith and kin 
bade her not to be given to too much hospitality, 
and to remember the limits of her strength. Katie 


Mackinnon was kept by illness in Glasgow, and Lady 
Victoria did not forget the absent member of the 
Lodge Farm. 

The Lodge, Tiree. Xmas Eve, 1909. 

And so, dear Katie, Dr. Benjamin was right, 
was she ? How good of Rev. Hector ! If it had 
been me, I should have preferred a private hospital 
ward. Just because everything is at hand. Write 
me all particulars ! I miss you here. John is 
a Commander-in-Chief as usual. Ship to be lit up 
to-morrow. Pipes, a gramophone. But at 11.15 
we begin with Rev. Macpherson and wife coming 
to a Christmas Service. Then everyone at 3.30 
p.m. A gentleman shows the gramophone. Glori- 
ous weather. 

Yours most truly, 

Victoria Campbell. 

The letters from the Lodge to Island House tell 
best the tale of the fleeting days. 

To Mrs. MacDiarmid. 
Nov. 8th, 1909. 

I shall be back (D.V.) soon, when, I don't 
know. I shall wire ; it won't be this week. 

Jan. 13th, 1910. 

I was really unhappy about you on Sat., and 
thought how amusingly we had changed places, 
for it was the kind of weather in which I would go 
to you in 1896. I leaving you in bed or sofa. 


(On nurses.) 

I feel so certain if with all — beginning with 
ourselves — we adhere to the " Reign of Law " 
firmly but gently it will keep us straight. 

Jan. 21st, 1910. 

It will be a relief to me if you will be in readi- 
ness to take the mothers on Monday, they gather 
up quite by 2.30. I fear the Buckboard hood is 
the signal, so if you can, be in sight by 2 p.m. 
We begin by singing Gaelic. They have the Gaelic 
hymns too. Then I give a prayer (offer Ann to 
read the chapter, or part chapter, if not, take it 
yourself). If you have a little reading like Gaelic 
" Life and Work," or English, they like it. I give 
this in English. The devotional had better not 
exceed half an hour. 

I was on Sahara on the Friday. Said it might 
be announced at Balemartine on the Sunday. 
This was at the Elder's house. I shall be so glad 
when Mr. Smith comes. I am jealous he finds at 
least we women have not sat at ease ! 

I have said since 1891 the people have far too 
little recreation, of a wholesome, open character. 

March 4£h, 1910. 

I feel so exhausted with the collapse of every 
link. Poultry and Post ! It only remains for us 
to be told the cable is broken, to be reduced to 
pulp, and to turn and try to forge fresh links 
thus. Tell your husband, I hope he will be really 


ingenious about linking up the poultry com- 
missioner, whose motto, I hope, is that which 
Mr. McRury used to address to his wife, as he took 
me on those first rounds : " We shall return, Flora, 
when our work is done." 

I feel more and more it is useless for people to 
come here to work without that motto. 


Her last written words in the island ended with 
" work," and none of those who saw her realised that 
the working days were so nearly sped. Afterwards, 
when they knew, " then they remembered." 

It may be that as she left the lone island some of 
the sadness of farewell hung over her partings. She 
bade the " mothers " remain in the room as she left 
their meeting, and told them they were to sing as 
she went out from among them, " We shall meet in 
the sweet Bye and Bye," and as they obeyed she 
passed from their midst. 

Her friend, Captain Murdoch, of the Govern- 
ment yacht H.M.S. " Minna," had arranged to take 
her to Oban. He had forwarded her journeys many 
a time before. " I am sitting like a cormorant on 
a rock, waiting to see the ' Minna ' come into the 
Sound," she wrote of this " ship in need " ; and 
whenever the " Minna " and its Captain could take 
her ofi any rock, it was the swift messenger of her 
destiny. In March the " Minna " stood into Gott 
Bay. It was wild weather, and she was carried in 
her chair by the two she relied upon, John Mackinnon 
and " Johnnie Mohr," to the boat which was waiting 


amid the washing surf. Her serenity was not as 
unshaken as usual, there were tears in her eyes, 
as she looked her last on the white sands, on the low 
hills and curving inlets of her beloved Ethica. Away 
from the pier, the Stones of Remembrance to be 
for ever associated with her as the landmark of her 
strenuous life. That breakwater will stand as the 
type of her own outlook for the kingdom of this 
world, where to labour is to pray ; and it is the symbol 
of her faith that only within the harbour and shelter 
of the Eternal strength are to be found the quiet 
waters which revive the thirsting soul that is anchored 
on the Rock of Ages. 

The gale did not abate, and Captain Murdoch, 
having received her on board, had to consider how 
to get her safely disembarked on the pier at Oban. 
It is not often that that harbour of refuge does not 
give shelter from the storm. On this occasion the 
gale blew right on to the landing-stage, and when 
Lady Victoria was placed in her chair in the boat, 
the Captain fervently wished he had her back on the 
" Minna." She asked one question, for her ex- 
perienced eye saw and understood the force of the 
gale, and the welter of sea and sky. " Is there any 
danger, Captain ? " " None," was the answer. 
With that word she was content, and the landing was 
effected, but the boat did not that night attempt 
to return to the vessel. " A great gale," are the 
three words in which she describes her move to 


To Mrs. MacDiarmid. 

Edinburgh. March 22nd, 1910. 

I am between dentist and what St. Giles ser- 
vices I can get in. It seems a blessed rest. Crocuses 
— land birds — since Tuesday, spring air. 

I never had such a landing at Oban ; but 
Captain Murdoch does not wish too much said. 

Edinbuegh. March 23rd, 1910. 
My dearest Mary, 

Such a rush of convalescent memories come 
over me of three years back in your beautiful home. 
I felt for the moment a strange longing, but common 
sense tells me to get on. Settled in rooms en pen- 
sion, in Egerton Terrace, found for me by dear Miss 
Lumsden. We shall meet in London. I am still 
" careful," but wonderful. I am undergoing 
dentist, relieved by St. Giles services. I get friends 
to come to me " up the hill." South rooms, cro- 
cuses, and land birds. I shall get the Communion 
Easter Sunday, St. Giles. We shall be together in 
thought. Much love to Teddy. You know I 
am proud of the Lords ! Dr. James in this evening. 
He looked proud of me, as well he might. A gale 
arose, and we landed at midnight in Oban. I 
never saw the Bay in such a state. 

From Edinburgh one word occurs almost daily. 

Rested. Had dear Lees. An intense Running 
down the Rest. Heard Dr. Williamson. Turned 
into St. Giles. Saw Mrs. Charteris, Dr. MacGregor. 


Then, on April 1st, she came to London, ac- 
companied by Miss McPhee. She notes that she 
was " feeling the contrast of last year's state." 
Next comes the word she has been to St. Columba. 
" Heard London Bishop (Dr. Fleming) on Life in 
Christ. Very helpful." She rested a great deal, and 
her expeditions out were usually to church, or, as a 
treat, to the daily service in Westminster Abbey. She 
remained in London for Easter Sunday, and took the 
early Communion in St. Michael's Church, which was 
near her house, going to St. Columba and to Crown 
Court Church, morning and evening. On one of these 
Sunday evenings one of her sisters accompanied her, 
as she went to church in a Bath chair. She observed 
an unwonted weakness in Lady Victoria's move- 
ments, and there came the unusual direction " to 
hold the chair steady." For an instant there was 
revealed the loss of nerve, and the marked failure in 
strength. The impression passed away, and was too 
soon forgotten. Forebodings could never live long 
in the face of the vitality which seemed to spring from 
an unquenchable well of life. 

Her family were much with her, and the one for 
whose coming she was always on the watch was her 
brother the Duke. From him she learnt the first 
anxious tidings of the illness of King Edward, and 
she was glad to be near him through those memorable 

By the kindness of the Duchess of Wellington she 
saw the funeral procession from Apsley House. The 
start was made at 6.40 a.m., and she got back at noon. 


In getting to the seat arranged for her she had some 

climbing to accomplish ; " but after my experiences 

on the ' Fingal/ " she said, it all came easily to her. 

In June, Lady Victoria writes to Lady Mary : — 

I wish we could have seen more of each other. 
I feel I have indulged myself long enough here. 
The gathering in Edinburgh will be unique, and in 
dear Fanny Mackenzie's lent house I may get a talk 
with one and another. In any case, I must be 
moving soon to get ready for Conny in Tiree, 
week of July 10th. After she leaves me, I am likely 
to get through other islands while weather good. 

She had reluctantly decided to miss the General 
Assembly, and reserve her strength for the great 
Mission Conference about to meet in Edinburgh. 
The thought of the gathering filled her with happiness. 
Through the kindness of Miss Mackenzie's cousin, 
Mrs. Savile, the house filled, to her, with happy memo- 
ries was put at her disposal. In anticipation she 
filled the rooms with guests, and the dining-table she 
knew was large enough to receive even the world of 
missionaries she was so eager to entertain. The 
eldest of Mrs. MacDiarmid's daughters was to be 
married in July, and her friend, Atta Macleod, was 
to make happy the Manse of a minister who had been 
" the Rev. Hylipol " in Tiree. The happiness of 
both these friends brightened her thoughts, and into 
" the wonderful Conference " she went body, soul, 
and spirit. 


The last letters written during these months are 
given. Tiree had not been out of her mind in London, 
and one of its ministers was called to order for his 
remissness in not filling her hungry thoughts with the 
news for which she craved. 

Last letter to the Rev. D. Macpherson, Kirkapol. 

April 26th, 1910. 

Dear Mr. Macpherson. 
Forgive me if I plead for a little fuller 
information ! I have been longing to hear from 

1. The Pier. 2. Dear Jeanie Deans. 3. The 
scarlet fever. 4. Has the Hospital been used ? 

You knew I was coming to London, did you 
not ? My address is always with the Prince of 
Links. Do you go to the Assembly ? I am thinking 
of not going to it. But to the Mission Conference. 
I wish you could hover about, and go to that. 

Is the Eremitus Dr. still in Tiree ? 

In short, Tiree might be under the sea for all I 
know ! 

To Lady Mary Glyn. 

May 25th, 1910. 

How this anniversary lives back to one with the 
memory of that dear Archbishop Maclagan's 
voice, which is not still mercifully, and I suppose 
sounds as ever. 

I think you are right, after the first staggering 
blow, and feeling " What can it all mean," as the 


King was a peacemaker. I think one gets the glint, 
the hope that all parties will be softened. At least, 
honestly, I don't think this word applies to the 
Unionist side. I mean, they were, whether for good 
or ill, the attacked. What I felt was, not the fact 
that the Ministers might appeal to the Crown, but 
the way at every side meeting it was brought in 
as though it were a twopenny-halfpenny question 
as to whether they did or not. 

But what is the use of talking ! One recognises 
at every turn so many of them are not gentlemen, 
and it is when one's lot is to meet in work all and 
sundry, one recognises this element, or the absence 
of it, means so much. It is indefinable ! 

I shall only just be in time to catch the world- 
wide, wonderful Conference in Edinburgh of 
missionaries. Do come to Tiree ! I hope some 
day to visit dear Peterborough again, but the stairs 
are steep, and I hate increasingly giving trouble. 

To Mrs. Paisley. 

16 Moray Place, Edinburgh. (Inveraray to- 
morrow), June 30th, 1910. 

My dear Mother Sabina, 
You must have thought me a brute ! When 
I got your letter I was in the midst of entertaining 
several delegates and others in a lent house of the 
late Miss Mackenzie, who was to me like an Aunt 
Dot, if that were possible. Then this day week 
I had to subside with a chill, and I have been de- 
layed in going to Argyll, at Dalchenna. 


Do you know, if this invitation had not come, 
I had thought of making a raid into your dining- 
room again. It cannot be now. I must be off to 

I was not up to many meetings, but saw a lot 
of interesting people, especially the Bishops, 
(Tell Jo) and Lord William Cecil ; it was like a 
foretaste of Union in Heaven ! 

I hope you read Mr. Norman Maclean's articles 
in the " Scotsman." With much love, and wishing 
I could go with you, 

Yours ever affectionately, 
V. C. 

16 Moray Place. June 28th, 1910. 
My dear F., 

Your letter ought to have crossed one from 
me, as I intended to try and give a private im- 
pression of this really wonderful time. But Mr. 
Norman Maclean did yeoman service, and I spent 
much time between the open table — luncheons and 
teas, and in reading up myself, which was one 
compensation for not getting to many meetings. 
Except for Synod Hall, which has a long, trying 
stair, I got to a specimen of each. The popular ones 
in our Assembly Hall, where I heard Bryan give 
a sermon of an hour and half (or twenty minutes 
after the hour). It was quite a quarter too long, 
which I never felt with Liddon, and there were 
touches of that American humour, which went down 
on a week-night. 


It really was a diagnosis of and beautifying the 
fundamentals. " The Tree bare twelve manner of 
fruits." He elaborated the twelve, beginning with 
Repentance. Beautiful touches in each delineation. 
Next night scores of people turned away, it is said, 
although empty seats in U.F. Hall not admitted. 
It is explained since that some delegates came 
late — bound to keep the seats for them. 

This was borne out by Lord William Cecil, who 
looked in on me late one afternoon, and declared 
when late from Niddrie where he was staying he had 
difficulty in getting in. 

What a striking appearance he has, and so 
interesting ; he pours it out so easily, with such a 
sense of humour, as when he said, apropos of the 
Sunday (when, to Dr. Mitty's horror, I went after 
the Bishop of Durham, to a " Pisky ") : " Yes, 
everyone is rejoicing in the other's religion." 

The other " popular " Tolbooth I got to was Lord 
Kinnaird, in the chair, where he was very heartily 
cheered. The U.F. Evening (what we called the 
Parliament) I got to was dull, closely read papers. 
Then there was one morning on Education, when 
Mrs. Creighton and two other women spoke. 
Dr. Mitty's face of wonder was killing ! He was 
much impressed. 

Lord William asked where you were, and said : 
" Tell her we have had a great outburst of oratory." 
I had to luncheon and teas here during the days — 
Eugene Stock, Principal Moore, whom you know. 
Bishops Moule and Montgomery, an interesting 

2 A 


man from Japan, who knew dear old " Fanny " 
here. A very interesting American woman, working 
in China, left a widow with one little girl of eleven. 
A nurse from our Blantyre. The Scott girls, two 
or three, off and on, sleeping in the house. Before 
the rush, Dr. Norman and Dr. Mitty came to see 
me. The beloved old Dean, Professor Paterson. 
Of course, the misses are the great debates. Lord 
Balfour of Burleigh on Union. I had a single 
ticket, but besides not caring to face it alone, I 
could not keep it from the Scott girls. 

Yes, there was a sense of " seeing the day 
approaching." One felt hearts were being knit 

I have been delayed going to Inveraray, with a 
touch of cold fatigue. It was a very sudden 
change from heat, with the thunder. But it is 
passing off. 

Margaret MacPhee has gone home. The last 
Scott girl departed Saturday. So, with dear old 
Phoebe in and out, I got to the Communion in 
St. Giles on Sunday. 

Dr. Wallace Williamson very fine the Sunday 
before the Conference. It seems to be his subject. 
Hoping to get to Dalchenna Thursday or Friday. 

I wish would write to C. I feel so sure people 

are helped with expressions of sympathy. 

Your very affectionate, 


This is a delicious home with its evening 


From the Very Rev. Sir James Lees. 

I happened to be in Edinburgh the Thursday be- 
fore her death. She wrote me to the New Club that 
she was still in town with a cold, and to come and 
see her. I went to Moray Place after my meeting, 
and found her in bed. She was very cheery, but 
I noticed she was a good deal flushed. When I 
came away, I kept her by the hand, and knelt down 
and prayed with her, and said the Blessing. She 
thanked me very much, but I little thought it was 
a farewell. God rest her soul ! She was one of the 
best, and the old mystery crops up again, that He 
takes one so useful and leaves so many to drag 
out their lives in uselessness. 

The last of these letters from herself reached London 
on June 29th. It was opened, glanced through, and 
put aside for reading on a return from a day's expe- 
dition into the country. Late that afternoon, Miss 
Macrae telegraphed to the family that Lady Victoria 
was seriously ill. It was the third summons which, 
always against her knowledge and will, had been sent 
out by this friend who had watched her through so 
many illnesses. With deep misgivings the summons 
was answered, and two of the " sisterhood " were soon 
by her, and through the days that followed. 

The fatigue cold rapidly developed into the dreaded 
pneumonia, and the heart failed under the strain. 
To the last day, consciousness and courage kept the 
flickering torch bravely burning. She rested, deeply 
content in the presence of her " pair sister " Lady 


Evelyn, shook her head at " Phoebe/' who had 
frightened them all again. She asked for her daily 
reading, and always was ready with talk. Hoping 
against conviction, and trying to believe that her 
wondrous vitality would rally, the days were spent 
by those around her. She had always had the deep 
shrinking from death that comes with the con- 
sciousness of life. From the sight of the last enemy 
she was kept. If she knew she was passing through 
the Borderlands, it did not trouble the serenity of 
spirit, which was plain through all the stress of 
the laboured breathing. As the afternoon closed in, 
she gave her friend, Dr. James, the wonted bright 
smile, and a whispered joke that he must not again 
try to make her take " stimulants." 

The lingering sunset of a July night lay over the 
peaceful waters of the Forth, and beyond them were 
the hills dark against the afterglow. The minister 
of St. Giles came to speed the passing soul with the 
blessing of peace, and as the night fell sleep was 
given to the Beloved. 

" Happy is he who heareth 
The signal of his release, 
In the bells of the Holy City, 
The chimes of eternal peace." 

B. May 22, 1854. D. July 6, 1910. 

Lady Victoria's grave is beside that of Lady 
Emma McNeill. Together they lie on the brow of 
the hill, under the shadow of the parish church of 


Liberton. The western sunlight falls on the grassy- 
slopes, and beneath that hill the Holy City lies 

The Rev. Norman McLeod, and the Rev. Dr. 
Wallace Williamson, minister of St. Giles, took the 
service in the cathedral and by the grave. It was 
a summer day of stillness and light ; around her 
were brought the flowers that she loved, amongst 
those from the gardens of the Land of Long Ago lay- 
heather from the hills, and the sweet gale from the 
moors of Mull. By her to the last stood those who 
had gathered from the isles and from Argyll ; her 
kith and kin were there, and the fellow- workers from 
city and country. All of them the companions and 
helpers of the way which had ended in the rest that 
knows no weariness. 

In the Church of St. Columba, in London, there 
gathered a yet greater number of those who re- 
membered and in spirit were following the prayers 
which committed " this our sister " to the ground 
in the sure and certain hope of the risen life. 

One of her friends wrote of that day, and of the 
stricken hearts that kept watch through that hour : — 

A bereaved people ; how few leave the world 
with that so truly felt ! " Then they remembered, 
then they understood " ! How often, perhaps always , 
it is so. In the heart of all grief is the knowledge 
that death alone could rend the veil that hides 
the Holy of Holies, of a Life hid with Christ in 
God. This shall be told for a memorial of her. 


Do you remember how in later years her father 
used to say this was the greatest memorial ever 
made, and how our Lord in those words sanctioned 
such Memorial and Remembrance, that it should be 
told from one to another ? 

I think it is to be granted that some such memo- 
rial is to be hers, and for generations it will be told 
as long as remembrance is made by these Island 
people. The greatest of all memorials, because the 
most like that which has our Lord's own words 
to sanction it. 

It is a tryst of tears now. The harvesting is 
very wonderful, and the song of Harvest Home is 
her part of it, and in it, if only we could hear it 
as she hears it now. 

On the Sunday after Lady Victoria's death, these 
words were spoken from the pulpit of St. Columba's 
church by the Rev. Dr. Fleming : — 

" Those who saw that bright, brave figure among 
us, so keen and so assiduous, for a few weeks 
every year, must have sometimes wondered — as one 
wonders when the swallows disappear — whither she 
had gone when she left us. It was to the lone islands 
of the western seas — to Iona — to Mull, to Tiree. 
When the days were short, when the seas were rough 
and the crossings dangerous, and all but the native 
born had fled from the islands to the less rigorous 
south, it was then that the homing instinct came to 
her ; the hunger for the hills and the mists and the 


sad fretful waves ; and above all, the hunger for her 
own people. And who were her own people ? I 
remember her telling me how long years ago she was 
looking out of the ruined windows of Iona Cathedral. 
And she said that it was then and there that the call 
came to her to dedicate her life to the islands. 
And that is what she did. That fragile frame was 
made servant to an indomitable will and purpose ; 
and where strong men would have shrunk, she went ; 
in the open boat, on the stormy seas, in the drifting 
sleet she crossed her ferries and sought her ports, 
always with her brave face to the blast, and a cheer- 
ful smile, and a heart that quailed before nothing — 
the heart of a chieftainess though withal the heart 
of a woman." 

In the folk-lore of the land of the setting sun and 
misty seas there is an old belief that those who wait 
by the sound of many waters can see a magic green 
island, which floats over the translucent waves. 
It rises here, and vanishes there. Always verdant 
and sunlit ; no storms stir the placid seas, no treacher- 
ous rocks break its glistening shores. The mariner 
sees it, and has no fear. No chart can mark its 
presence, for it moves silently across and away from 
the course of the galleys that pass by the ferry ways. 

It is the mystic Isle to those who have the vision, 
and those who see it have no shadow of fear in their 

Among the people of her love there are still those 
who " see things." They meet the long processions 


that come bearing their dead with them. To them 
there are shadows among the quiet graves, their 
hearts fail them amid the forces of Nature and the 
world unseen. Let these watchers lift their eyes to 
the hills, till in the peace that flows from their 
strength their own hearts cease from troubling. 
Then to their purged gaze may be given the vision 
of the green island that has no earthly foundation, 
there revealed to them, they may see the Lady of 
their hearts passing by the sea of glass mingled with 
the fires of everlasting and yet higher service. 

It may be she will come to them, moving on feet 
that are no longer weary, the swift messenger to 
their souls, from the heart of the Eternal Love, 
bidding them be of good cheer ; for they, with her, 
are the servants of God and of His Christ, and they, 
with her, must spend lives in a service of love to all 



Aiiiie, Lord, 7 

Airlie Lodge, Campden Hill, 7 

Allan, Dr., 8 

Ardencaple Castle, 16, 19 

Argyll, Duke of, 

— Duchess of, 1, 6, 20, 21, 26, 27, 
28, 29, 41, 53, 60, 69, 100, 102, 
104, 109, 111, 112 

— George, 6th Duke of, 1, 2, 3, 4, 
6, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 27, 28, 
37, 42, 53, 60, 100, 101, 102, 104, 
109, 112, 114, 119, 155, 159, 162, 
209, 266, 276, 283, 293, 309 

Argyll Lodge, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 28, 81 


Balfour, Blanche, 183 

Bedford, Dowager Duchess of, 2 

Bedford Lodge, 3 

" Blackberry," 11 

Brighton, 8, 12, 33 

Brodie, Dr., 8 

Brown, Dr. John, 53, 115, 147 

Bunessan, 275, 292, 329 

Campbell, Annie, 342 
— Margaret, 109 

Campbell, Lord Archibald, ix 

— Lady Evelyn, 59, 61, 152 

— Lady Emma, 7, 20, 41-9, 54-7, 

59, 61, 63, 69, 78, 119, 251 

— Lord John, 16 

— Lady Elisabeth, 61, 278 

— Lady Victoria, birth and parent- 
age, 1-4 ; youth, 5-12 ; illness, 
9, 10, 32, 49-53, 73, 336, 337 ; 
reminiscences of Elizabeth King, 
18-26 ; diary, 31, 58, 70, 72, 73, 
106-8, 110, 111, 113-17, 120-35, 
138-44, 146-52, 161, 162, 167, 
189-92, 195-9, 208, 209, 222-4, 
226-36, 262, 264, 267, 268, 
271, 275, 291, 292, 309, 311, 
312, 316, 336, 347 ; at Cannes, 

60, 61 ; diary of a year of 
her life, 298-302 ; letters of, 
63-8, 75-8, 98-100, 109, 112, 
113, 144-6, 176-80, 193, 194, 
202-7, 247-65, 266, 268, 271, 
286-91, 294-96, 307, 308, 312- 
17, 323-9, 331, 332, 339-45, 
347, 349-54; and Kensing- 
ton Home for Crippled Boys, 
78 ; at Kensington Infirmary, 
79 ; and church-going, 89, 94, 
96 ; and Anglican Church, 90, 
91, 221 ; and Church of Scot- 




land, 94, 217 ; as a traveller, 
128 ; her handwriting, difficulty 
of, 169, 170 ; and women's suf- 
frage, 174, 175 ; as a speaker, 
175 ; and politics, 176 ; relations 
with nephews and nieces, 181, 
182 ; and Gaelic, 215 ; her life 
at the Lodge, Tiree, 332-6 ; 
death, 355, 356 

Campion, Elizabeth, 14, 15 

Candlish, Dr., 43 

Cannes, 46, 48, 59, 115, 118, 119 

Carlton House Terrace, 1 

Carlyle, Rev. Gavin, 25, 89, 92 

Charteris, Dr., 93, 94, 129, 130, 
259, 262, 320-2, 339 

Cowie, Mr. Isaac, x 

Crieff, 59 

Crimean War, 1 

Crofter's agitation in Island of 
Tiree, 162-9 

Crown Court Church, 3, 4 

Cumming, Dr., 3, 4, 209-14, 218 


Dodds, Mr., 46 
Douglas, Dr. Halliday, 50-2 
Dugdale, Mrs. Edgar, ix 
Dykes, Dr. Oswald, 90, 92, 269 

" Fanny," 23 

Fleming, Rev. Archibald, ix, 328, 

Frederick of Prussia, Princess, 63 


Gillies, Rev. William, 303 

Gladstone, Mr., 2, 112 

Glyn, Lady Mary, ix, 286 et seq., 

294-6, 312, 347, 350 
Gordon, Mrs., 178-80 
Guthrie, Dr., 43, 53, 92, 212 


Henry of Prussia, Prince, 63 
Hewitt, Sir Prescott, 27 
Holly Lodge, Campden Hill, 6 


Inveraray Castle, 10, 25, 29, 32, 60, 

108, 207 
Iona, 279, 283 
Irving, Edward, 3, 45 

Jarvis, Frances, 125, 127 
Johnstone, Georgina, 33-40 

— Susan, 39, 71 


Kenmore, 139 
Kinellan, 212 
King, Elizabeth, 16, 17, 18, 19, 

20, 21, 22-7, 28, 29, 75, 80, 97, 


— John, 16, 19, 20 

Knowles, Elizabeth, 74, 80-7, 111, 
224, 246, 342 



"Largie," 11 

Lees, Very Eev. Sir James, 355 

Leveson-Gower, Lady Elizabeth, 

Liberton, 46, 48 
"Life and Work," 16 
Liverpool, 12 
Lome, Marquis of, 16, 20, 119 

— Lady, 24 

Lyell, Sir Charles, 33 

Macaulay, Lord, 6 
" MacBrayne fleet," 238 et seq. 
Macdiarmid, Mr., 243-5 

— Mrs., x, 192, 193, 201, 202, 
252 et seq., 307, 347 

Macdonald, Dr., 60 

MacGregor, Dr. (" Hamish "), 88, 

93, 103, 104, 212, 282, 284 
Maclagan, Rev. William, 90, 93 
Macleod, Dr. Donald, 214 

— Dr. Norman, 281, 357 
Macrae, Mr., 4 
McKichan, Rev. Mr., 169 
McNeill, Lady Emma, 28, 62. See 

also Lady Emma Campbell 

— Sir John, 46, 62, 67, 98, 119, 

Macpherson, Rev. D., 340, 350 

McPhail, Mr., 323 

McPhee, Mrs., 289 

Milne, Mr., 65 

Morgan, Dr. Campbell, 181 

Morritt, Miss, 80 

Northumberland, Duchess of, 178 

Phillimore, Sir Walter, 3 


Raglan, Lord, 1 

Richmond, Miss Lee, x 

Ritchie, Mr., x 

Rosneath Castle, 16, 18, 20, 25, 27, 

Roth, Dr., 9, 70, 72 
Russell, Lord John, 1 

"Sanda," 11 
Saphir, Dr. Adolph, 29, 56, 92, 97, 

Scott, Rev. David Clement, 318, 

Shaftesbury, Lord, 132 
Simpson, Sir James, 8, 50, 61 
Sinclair, Archdeacon, 90 
Stanley, Dean, 90, 144 
Story, Rev. Dr., 70, 93, 282, 336 
Sutherland, Harriet, Duchess of, 

12, 41, 50 
— Duke of, 16 


Taylor, Lady Elizabeth Clough, 

274, 275 
Teeming, Dr., 93 
Temple, Archbishop, 313 



Tiree, Island of, 101, 155 et. seq., 
222, 223, 226-36, 238, et seq., 
293, 314, 345 

Torphichan Street, Edinburgh, 50 

Victoria, Queen, 4, 26, 27, 88, 311 


Webb-Peploe, Mr., 93 
William of Prussia, Prince, 63 
Wilson, Eev. George, 322 

Y.W.C.A., 196, 197, 204, 230, 235, 
253-5, 259, 288, 290, 341